Nikol Pashinyan is under increasing pressure to resign for handling the recent conflict with Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused senior army officers of attempting a coup after demanding his resignation, adding fuel to months-long protests calling for his resignation.
Anti-government sentiment intensified last November after the end of a conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and accelerated again this week.
Under pressure from Pashinyan, the army issued a statement on Thursday calling for his resignation.
Pashinyan reacted by sacking Onik Gasparyan, chief of the army’s general staff, and then took to the streets of the capital, Yerevan, in an attempt to rally supporters behind him.
Crowds of opposition protesters took to the streets of Yerevan on Thursday chanting “Nikol, traitor!” and “Nikol, quit!” while blocking the streets and paralyzing traffic around the capital.
Thousands of people also supported Pashinyan.
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Former president calls Pashinyan to leave
Adding to the pressure on Pashinyan, former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said the former “must go” calling on Armenians to “stand by” the country’s armed forces.
“The authorities who lost the war and returned the land must leave,” Kocharyan wrote in a statement posted on Facebook. “It is the first necessity of our national renaissance.”
Turkey strongly condemns ‘coup’: FM
The Turkish foreign minister condemns what he called an attempted coup against Pashinyan and says it is unacceptable for the military to call for the resignation of a democratically elected leader.
“We are against any coup or attempted coup, no matter where in the world it takes place. We strongly condemn the coup attempt in Armenia, ”Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Budapest.
Turkey has firmly supported Azerbaijan in the recent Nagorno-Karabakh war.
Russia calls for peaceful resolution
Russia expresses concern about growing political tensions in Armenia, where it has a military base.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called on the Pashinyan army and government to resolve their differences peacefully and within the framework of the constitution.
Armenia is a close ally of Russia.