STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—Protests have continued to gain momentum for the third day in Artsakh’s capital, after members of Artsakh’s National Security Service (NSS) assaulted two citizens. According to reports, the assault was in response to an earlier clash between an NSS officer and residents.
In light of the protests, which began on June 1, Artsakh’s Ministry of Defense published a statement calling on citizens to refrain from any actions that threaten the security of the people. “Accepting the absolute supremacy of the constitutional rights of every citizen and regarding any manifestation of violence as unacceptable and condemnable, the Artsakh Ministry of Defense urges all to refrain from taking any dangerous steps that will further artificially aggravate the domestic state of affairs in our country that already faces external threats and to seek purely legal solutions,” read a part of the statement, translated by Hetq.
Armenia’s newly elected Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also called for the demonstrators to peacefully end their protest, via Facebook Live. “There is no doubt that the behavior of representatives of power structures is worrying. This situation needs concrete solutions ,” said Pashinyan, who noted that he is closely following the events in Artsakh and has been in contact with Bako Sahakyan.
In response to the June 1 assault, protesters blocked a main road in Stepanakert leading to the central bus station. A large number of demonstrators also gathered outside the Stepanakert central bus station the following day and called for the resignation of the heads of all police and other law enforcement units, other than the Army.
On June 3, a delegation from the protesters met with Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan. According to a short press statement from Sahakyan’s office, a range of issues related to the June 1 incident and the events following it were discussed during the meeting.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of Artsakh also released a statement on Monday, calling on Artsakh authorities to hold all those responsible for the June 1 incident accountable. The statement also urged for stability in Artsakh.
“The events that took place in Stepanakert over the last two days are evidence of the fact that the atmosphere of lawlessness and anarchy is inadmissible and threatens the country’s security. The most important values for our country are stability, democracy, and the realization of citizens’ rights. The rule of law is above everything else for both the authorities and the society,” read a part of the statement.