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More Than 90 Detained In Yerevan As Car Protest Snarls Traffic.

An opposition protester is arrested in Yerevan on May 16.

An opposition protester is arrested in Yerevan on May 16.

YEREVAN -- Police in Yerevan have detained dozens of drivers who took part in a car rally in the Armenian capital as opposition-led demonstrations continue in an effort to force Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian from office.

Anti-government demonstrations organized by the opposition since April 17 have called on the population to commit acts of civil disobedience, accusing Pashinian of making unacceptable concessions during negotiations with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. `

Police in Yerevan said on May 16 that at least 91 people who attempted to take part in the car rally were detained, most of them near the Razdan sports stadium on the edge of the city center.

Police warned drivers "to avoid committing traffic violations and any attempts to restrict the rights of other citizens to move around the city."

Opposition politicians said earlier that they planned to resume protests in Yerevan on May 17.

Pashinian has faced heavy criticism since he and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed last month to start drafting a bilateral peace treaty to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and set up a joint commission on demarcating their common border at talks in Brussels.

Azerbaijan wants the peace deal to be based on five elements, including a mutual recognition of each other's territorial integrity.

Pashinian has publicly stated that the elements are acceptable to Yerevan in principle, fueling opposition claims that he is ready to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia lost control over parts of the breakaway region in a 2020 war that ended with a Russian-brokered cease-fire that an estimated 2,000 Russian troops have been deployed to monitor.

Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been under ethnic Armenian control for nearly three decades, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Pashinian, who said he had agreed to the 2020 cease-fire to avoid further losses, said he would not sign any peace deal with Azerbaijan without consulting ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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