Armenia detains critics of Karabakh peace deal
YEREVAN, Nov 12: Armenia on Thursday arrested 10 leading opposition figures for violently protesting against a Russian-brokered peace deal that ended weeks of fighting with Azerbaijan and sparked fury with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Prosecutors announced the arrests hours ahead of a fresh demonstration called by the opposition against the accord that sees Armenia give up swathes of disputed territory in Nagorno-Karabkh to their long-standing foe.
The 10 politicians face up to a decade behind bars for their role in "illegal violent mass disorder", prosecutors said in a statement, after protesters stormed and ransacked government buildings on Tuesday over Pashinyan's agreement to end the fighting.
"We consider this to be an act of political persecution," said Lilit Galstyan from the opposition Dashnaktsutyun party, which saw at least two of its members detained.
"This government has no moral right to stay in power."
Earlier this week, Pashinyan accused the protesters who overran government buildings of being controlled by "oligarchs who were looting our army, our soldiers, our country for 20 years".
The 45-year-old former newspaper editor, who swept to power in 2018 promising to root out endemic corruption, denounced the demonstrators for stirring up unrest when security services were on the frontlines.
At a protest in Yerevan on Wednesday police hauled off 135 people at a rally against the peace deal in front of the government headquarters where demonstrators were calling Pashinyan a "traitor". -AFP