Hundreds of soldiers have joined anti-government protests in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Monday, accusing the country's prime minister of corruption and authoritarian rule. In a response to the ongoing protests, the Armenian defence ministry said it would take harsh measures against any member of the military taking part in the demonstrations. Al Jazeera's Robin Forestier-Walker, reporting from Yerevan, said Monday's events are a surprising development.
"There are pictures and videos of the soldiers walking down main Yerevan streets. We understand that they are on active duty and that they are part of a peacekeeping force for missions abroad," Walker said. "We have also seen members of the clergy coming out into the streets to take part in the protests," he added.
Monday marked the eleventh consecutive day of anti-government protests in Armenia. On Sunday, Nikol Pashinyan and two other opposition politicians were arrested at a protest in Yerevan.
A statement from the prosecutor general said the opposition leaders "were detained as they were committing socially dangerous acts" and the government justified their arrest during a press conference on Monday.
According to Walker, the mood among the protesters has been largely positive, adding that it is hard to know what will happen next.