YEREVAN, Armenia

Protesters stormed a government building in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Monday.

Protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan chanted slogans in the building where some ministries are located.

“We wanted to show that we can enter any building we want,” protesters said. They left the building after a short stay.

Tensions continue

The dispute on the dismissal of Chief of General Staff Onik Gasparyan after he called for the premier’s resignation last week also continued between Pashinyan and Armenian President Armen Sargsyan.

Though Sargsyan rejected Pashinyan’s order to sack the chief of General Staff, Pashinyan sent the same decree to the presidency again.

Government supporters and the opposition are set to hold demonstrations in Yerevan at the same time.

Pashinyan invited his supporters to gather at the Republic Square in Yerevan on Monday evening 30 minutes after the opposition is expected to gather at Marshal Baghramyan Square.

According to a statement by the Prime Ministry, Pashinyan convened the country’s Security Council and discussed internal and external security issues.

Coup attempt

Earlier this week, Gasparyan, along with other senior commanders, released a statement calling for Pashinyan’s resignation.

Pashinyan blasted the military’s call as a coup attempt, and urged his supporters to take to the streets to resist.

He later announced the dismissal of the chief of General Staff on Facebook.

The unrest follows the end of a military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan last fall widely seen as a victory for the latter.

Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

During the six week-conflict, which ended with a Russian-brokered truce, Azerbaijan liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation.

Before this, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

Protesters storm government building in Armenia

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