YEREVAN — More than six weeks after the start of their “resistance movement,” Armenia’s radical opposition groups announced late on Tuesday their decision to terminate daily demonstrations aimed at toppling Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after failing to achieve popular support.
In what they called a change of tactics, they said they will dismantle tents pitched in the center of Yerevan, switch to weekly rallies and try to attract a larger following.
ARF leader Ishkhan Saghatelyan admitted that most Armenians have avoided participating in the protests.
“We have not yet managed to get all those people to the streets and to bring them to this square. There are still people who think this is a fight for power, for the return of former rulers to power,” Saghatelyan told supporters rallying in Yerevan’s France Square, the site of the opposition tent camp. Both opposition groups are led by former corrupt presidents Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sarkisyan.
PM Pashinyan and his political allies have dismissed the opposition demands for his resignation. They say that the opposition has failed to attract popular support for regime change.
Saghatelyan put a brave face on the failure to unseat the prime minister. He claimed that the opposition has managed to “awaken the society” and scuttle a “new capitulation agreement” with Azerbaijan. The protests have showed that Pashinyan lacks a popular “mandate to lead Armenia to vital concessions” to Baku, he said.
“We will definitely oust Nikol but we will do that bloodlessly,” Saghatelyan told the crowd.