Dozens Injured As Armenian Opposition Protesters Clash With Police

YEREVAN -- Dozens have been injured after Armenian opposition protestors clashed again with police as they continue to reject the government's handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute with Azerbaijan.

This time the clashes occurred near villas housing top government officials in central Yerevan late on June 3, when police officers used stun grenades to keep the protestors back from the residential buildings where Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian lives.

The Health Ministry said that, as of 10:30 p.m. local time, a total of 50 people, including 34 police officers had sought medical attention. One of the wounded was in critical condition, the ministry said, but didn’t provide further details.

Eleven protestors were detained on charges of using violence against police officers and resisting arrest, according to police figures released early on June 4. Police said a criminal probe has been launched.

The June 3 demonstration was one of the most violent since Armenian opposition groups began holding anti-government rallies in the capital in late April on a nearly daily basis to denounce the government’s handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute with Azerbaijan and to demand Pashinian’s resignation.

Pashinian has faced heavy criticism since he and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed in April to begin drafting a peace treaty to resolve the conflict and set up a joint commission on demarcating their common border. Pashinian met again with Aliyev last week for a fresh round of talks on the future treaty.

Armenia lost control over parts of the Azerbaijani breakaway region in a 2020 war that ended with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire monitored by Russian troops.

The June 3 rally began after the pro-Pashinian majority in the Armenian parliament scuttled a special session initiated by two opposition groups to debate and vote on a resolution banning any status for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan.

The ruling Civil Contract faction did not show up for the session, preventing a quorum. They called the vote a “false political agenda” that could hamper Armenia in negotiations with Azerbaijan.

The protestors blocked all entrances and exits from the government building for two hours, demanding a meeting with Pashinian before marching toward the residential villas two kilometers away.