Former President Kocharyan also attended the rally, but did not speak from the stage or speak to the media. The former leader believed to be behind the Resistance Movement also took part in the march.
The Armenian Apostolic Church allowed one of its senior clergy to address the gathering. Bishop Bagrat Galstanyan delivered a speech at the Yerevan gathering “with the blessing” of Catholicos Karekin II, supreme head of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
A vocal critic of Pashinyan, Galstanyan leads the church’s diocese in Armenia’s northern Tavush province.
“It’s a supra-partisan rally,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Even if it was partisan, it is a reaction to the call for help from our compatriot from Artsakh. This cry cannot go unanswered.
“Artsakh’s right to self-determination is not a limited right, it is about the dignity, honor and survival of all Armenians,” the outspoken bishop says .
The Supreme Spiritual Council of the Armenian Church, headed by Karekin II, also raised concerns about the government’s policy in Karabakh in a statement issued on Friday, November 4, after a four-day session in Etchmiadzin. He said that “the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination is non-negotiable”.
The statement urged the government to “eliminate dividing lines in our national life, end discriminatory approaches motivated by political beliefs, overcome the atmosphere of hatred and hostility and engage in meaningful and healthy dialogue.” in the country. This would pave the way for the “national consolidation” needed to tackle the serious security challenges facing Karabakh and Armenia, he said.
The opposition movement has staged several campaigns of sustained street protests demanding the resignation of Pashinyan and his government since the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war in which Armenians suffered defeat.
All of these street protests, including the latest one last spring, died down within weeks.
Current government officials attributed it to the lack of popular support for the opposition’s demand for Pashinyan’s resignation or policy change.