On May 2, we woke up in Stepanakert, the capital of the Republic of Artsakh, packed up our Airbnb, and headed to a nearby bakery to meet the bakers and buy a few rounds of tonir hats(bread baked in a tonir). This is a cookbook research trip after all, and we figured that we'd be on the road for a long time and would need some fuel. We were right about the road fatigue, but not for reasons we had expected.
Several hours later, we passed the Artsakh/Armenia border near Vardenis and drove straight into a political protest, one of many taking place across Armenia. The night before, the ruling Republican party decided to forego voting for a prime minister because they didn’t want the opposition leader, Nikol Pashinyan, to be voted into office.
Nikol Pashinyan has become a hero of the Armenian people—he stands for everything the ruling Republican party (which is notorious for corruption) does not. Since we arrived in Armenia, we've seen support for Pashinyan grow from high school and college students to nearly everyone we come across. The decision the night before to forgo the vote unleashed a wave of fresh protests.
When we hit the roadblock, we figured that the best thing to do is to get out of the car and start reporting. John has a background in photo journalism, and jumped back into the roll, getting shots of the chaos. With the help of Christine, our translator, and Raffi, our friend who also speaks Eastern Armenian, we started asking questions and documenting what was happening.
Click here for the full photo essay-