The human rights situation under the Armenian government is on the brink of total demise. The persecution and murders of public and political figures in the country have taken a large scope following the hike of resentment against the incumbent government of Nikol Pashinyan.
All these issues go back to the Karabakh trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, – as a result of which thousands of protesters took to the streets in Armenia and stormed the National Assembly building in Yerevan. Armenians also held numerous protests and marches worldwide to protest the outcome of the second Karabakh war. Protests continued until May 2021, with demonstrations in Yerevan and other cities demanding the prime minister's resignation.
Police violence and arrests
From May 1, 2022, thousands of demonstrators, demanding the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took to the streets of Yerevan, staging acts of civil disobedience, marching, holding sit-ins, and attempting to block major thoroughfares in the capital’s downtown. On May 2, police in Yerevan detained at least 244 demonstrators, many on charges of refusing to obey official orders. By May 3, at least 70 demonstrators were arrested, according to a police spokesman.
Further, sources reported over 580 detentions of demonstrators by the Armenian police in the country, and these have been recorded from November 2020 to May 2021.
Police used force in an effort to suppress the protestors. Demonstrators and media representatives were subjected to physical attacks and insults.
As regards some facts about the murders of the active participants in the rallies, Garnik Petrosyan’s (born in 1993) case remains murky. Petrosyan, one of the protesters, who entered the parliament building, was found dead under a bridge on November 13, 2020, an hour following his interrogation.
A strong backlash against the decisions of Pashinyan and the government’s lack of ability to fulfill its obligations drew it into another cataclysm.
In early April 2022, protests in Armenia began over the implementation of the November 10, 2020, tripartite statement and the prospect of a potential peace treaty with Azerbaijan after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels, Belgium on April 6, 2022, for a joint summit hosted by the European Council. The protest movement was attended by activists from various opposition forces and the relatives of fallen and wounded servicemen of the Second Karabakh War.
Protests continued until June, with demonstrations in Yerevan and other cities demanding the resignation of the government. Police detained dozens of protesters who marched and blocked roads to Armenia’s capital Yerevan, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
According to official data, as of June 6, 2022, over 2,100 participants were detained. Police mistreated both protesters and the media covering the events with such force that activists described it as “brutal”. During rallies on Proshyan Street, the police fired expired stun grenades against the protesters, injuring dozens of people.
In a nutshell, the brutality applied during the rally was exceptional in terms of quelling the raging mass across the country.
Persecutions within the political pandemonium
Armenia was engulfed in deep political chaos at a time when Pashinyan's My Step Alliance swept to victory in 2018. While Pashinyan's pro-Western ruling party tried to eliminate Russian leverage, the opposition went closer to Moscow asking for a salvage.
Deep contradictions started between the government and the opposition which made the government resort to severe measures. Thus, persecutions and arrests took an enormous scope in the country which resulted in big damage to the image of the government. This also sidelined Armenia to progress in both its domestic and external policies.
When Pahsinyan started to oust the pro-Russian opposition, he was more than sure that alone he would annex the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by virtue of his patrons in the west. However, he forgot that Armenia is not a neighbor of France or the US, but is located in the South Caucasus, where its biggest reneged patron is Russia.