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Armenians storm parliament, beat speaker after ceasefire with Azerbaijan

Protestors storm the Armenian parliament building after the announcement of a peace deal in the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 November 2020 [Alex McBride/Getty Images]
Protestors storm the Armenian parliament building after the announcement of a peace deal in the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan on 10 November 2020 [Alex McBride/Getty Images]

Armenian protesters today stormed the country's parliament and severely beat the speaker, after authorities agreed to a ceasefire deal over Nagorno-Karabakh and surrendered the territories to Azerbaijan.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the end of the conflict over the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region in a Facebook post last night, saying that the government signed a deal with Azerbaijan and Russia to cease the fighting. He described the deal as "unspeakably painful for me personally and for our people".

"I made that decision as a result of an in-depth analysis of the military situation and the assessment of the people who know the situation best. Also based on the belief that this is the best possible solution to the current situation," he wrote in the post.

"This is not a victory, but there is no defeat until you recognize yourself as a loser. We will never recognize ourselves as losers and this should be the beginning of our era of national unification and rebirth. We need to analyse the years of our independence in order to plan our future and not repeat the mistakes of the past."

READ: Azerbaijan liberates Karabakh's second-largest city occupied by Armenia

Following the statement, hundreds of Armenians broke into the parliament building in the capital Yerevan in the early hours of the morning. Gathering inside the inner chamber of parliament, they occupied the seats of parliamentarians while shouting "resign!" They then attempted to occupy the podium, before ransacking and vandalising the offices within the building.

Thousands of other protestors were also reported to have raided and damaged government buildings and offices in Yerevan earlier in the evening.

Footage was then leaked of the Armenian parliament speaker Ararat Mirzoyan being attacked, stripped and severely beaten by protestors on the street. Footage of Prime Minister Pashinyan's house being attacked was also released on social media, with unofficial media claiming that he fled to the city of Sochi in Russia.

After the eruption of the chaos on Yerevan's streets and desecration of its parliament, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian claimed in a statement that he was not consulted about the ceasefire deal, and that he will begin political consultations to establish a unity government amid the concerns of the protestors.

READ: Turkey announces scholarship for Karabakh victims

According to the peace deal signed yesterday, fighting and movement on all sides were to cease by midnight, and Armenian forces are to withdraw from territories internationally recognised as Azerbaijan's by 20 November. The five kilometre-wide Lachin corridor will also be opened to facilitate the withdrawal and movement between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, with Russian peacekeeping forces guarding the corridor for five years while Azerbaijan is obliged to guarantee safe passage.

The ceasefire deal and the signing of the peace agreement came after Azerbaijan captured the strategic key city of Shusha on Sunday, which overlooks the region's capital Stepanakert or Khankendi. It followed on from six weeks of renewed fighting between Armenian and Azeri forces which began with border clashes at the end of September.

Many predicted the eventual surrender of Armenia to Azerbaijan or the signing of a ceasefire deal, as Armenian forces lost dozens of military vehicles and equipment on a daily basis after Azeri forces devastated them, especially with the use Turkish drones.

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