Monday, 21 May, 2018

Police haul off at least 80 protestors in Yerevan

Protests Persist In Armenia As Parliament Prepares To Elect Sarkisian Prime Minister Armenia's ex-president to keep power as opposition block govt building
Lisa Bryan | 18 April, 2018, 00:52

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest against parliament's election of former President Serzh Sarkisian as prime minister. Opposition activists claimed constitutional changes implemented during Sarkisian's presidency were created to allow him to maintain power in the strengthened role of prime minister, the outlet said. He will operate under a new political system that sees the president's powers weakened and the prime minister taking a dominant role.

Many members of the ruling party contend that the 64-year-old Sarkisian is the best candidate for prime minister given his lengthy experience, especially when it comes to talks over neighboring Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Authorities said 46 people, including six policemen, sought medical help.

Periodically, there are also skirmishes between drivers of vehicles blocked the protesters.

But Pashinian vowed to continue with the protests.

The pro-Moscow politician is expected to be elected by parliament on Tuesday. He also addressed residents of Yerevan suburbs calling them to close down interstate roads and come to the capital to participate in the action.


His calls were answered by several thousand people who flocked to the parliament building.

Some built barricades using cast-iron benches and metal trash cans. "With this minor inconvenience we are trying to save you from a greater inconvenience called Serzh Sarkisian", Pashinian shouted repeatedly through a megaphone to the crowd.

A shrewd former military officer, Sargsyan has been in charge of the landlocked South Caucasus nation of 2.9 million since winning a presidential vote in 2008.

Sargsyan's second term as president ended on April 9, and the country is now poised to transition to a parliamentary republic from a presidential republic. The rallies began on Friday when more than 4,000 people took part.

Two opposition lawmakers set off smoke flares in parliament last week to protest Sarkisian's election as prime minister.

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