Azerbaijan

From Imprisoned Activist to Struggling Leader

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian Faces Backlash Over Violent Crackdown on Protesters

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, known for his history of peaceful protests and resistance to police violence, is now under scrutiny for presiding over a violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations. Shocking footage of stun grenades exploding among protesters has raised concerns among Armenians, especially given Pashinian’s past involvement in protests against police brutality.

Pashinian rose to prominence in 2008 when he led demonstrations against a disputed election, which resulted in a violent crackdown by police and his subsequent imprisonment. Ten years later, he came to power following another round of peaceful protests known as the Velvet Revolution.

However, recent events have painted a different picture of Pashinian’s leadership. In response to growing public anger over Armenia’s military losses and concessions to Azerbaijan, police used stun grenades to disperse anti-government protesters on June 12, leading to numerous injuries. Azerbaijan’s successful recapture of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh further fueled discontent among Armenians.

While Pashinian and his supporters have defended the police actions, critics argue that the use of violence is unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances. Pashinian’s government has also been criticized for its harsh treatment of government critics and its failure to address systemic human rights abuses.

As tensions continue to rise in Armenia, it remains to be seen how Pashinian will navigate the fallout from the recent crackdown and maintain public trust in his leadership.

 

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