Tbilisi, Sep 25 (EFE).- Armenian police arrested over 140 people in the capital, Yerevan, during protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Sunday after Azerbaijan took over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, triggering an exodus of ethnic Armenians from there.
An interior ministry spokesperson told the Armenian digital news site Arminfo that police took at least 142 protesters into custody.
However, the Armenian opposition said the number of detainees, including lawmakers, exceeded 200.
The protesters are asking Pashinyan to step down amid accusations that he failed to protect the Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Azerbaijan regained control of the disputed region in a swift military operation last week.
Ex-Armenian prime minister Vazgen Manukian has said the opposition would paralyze the country for three days from Monday.
The protesters blocked several streets in different areas of Yerevan.
However, ex-parliament deputy speaker Eduard Sharmazanov admitted that a sufficient number of people did not participate in the protests.
“If 100,000 people leave, the police will join in and turn their backs on Nikol (Pashinyan),” said the opposition politician, quoted by the digital News.am.
The government said almost 3,000 Armenians displaced by the recent Azerbaijani military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh have arrived in Armenia since the evacuation began on Sunday,
Earlier, the authorities in the disputed region announced the urgent evacuation of Armenians amid mounting ethnic cleansing fears.
In a press statement on Sunday, the government of the unrecognized republic disclosed that families left homeless due to the military actions and those who wished to leave were being relocated to Armenia.
The statement said officials would provide information about the relocation of other groups in the near future. Some 120,000 people live in Karabakh.
On Sunday, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan said the arrival of humanitarian shipments had not changed the situation since the Armenians of Karabakh continued to face “the danger of ethnic cleansing
“If real living conditions are not created for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh in their homes and effective mechanisms of protection against ethnic cleansing, then the likelihood is increasing that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh will see expulsion from their homeland as the only way out.”
He said his country “will lovingly welcome our brothers and sisters from Nagorno-Karabakh,” if needed. EFE