The Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has accused the armed forces of an attempted coup against his government after top military officers signed a letter calling him to resign.
Tensions between Pashinyan and the military erupted into open conflict on Thursday as the chief of the armed forces general staff, Onik Gasparyan, and other senior commanders accused the prime minister of bringing Armenia to "the brink of collapse", reports the Guardian.
In response, Pashinyan dismissed Gasparyan and called his own supporters to rally in Yerevan's Republic Square, the site of the popular revolution that brought him to power three years ago. A video broadcast showed Pashinyan in a suit arriving at the square on Thursday and addressing his supporters through a bullhorn, with counter-protesters also present.
There have been no reports of the military being mobilised to seize government buildings or otherwise unseat Pashinyan. However, discontent has grown against the prime minister over Armenia's defeat in a six-week war with Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh last year. As part of a Russian-brokered ceasefire, Armenia was forced to make painful concessions to Azerbaijan, handing over towns and villages that it had won in a war after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but populated by ethnic Armenians.