Vahagn Khachatryan: Serzh Sargsyan deceives expectations of Armenians

17 April, 2018, 18:42 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Yelk Party Nikol Pashinyan speaks during a protest organized by'My Step and'#merjirserjin initiatives at Liberty Square in Yerevan on Friday

Today, the 43-year-old Pashninian's track record of civil disobedience has helped attract thousands to gather in Yerevan to protest parliament's move to cement two-term former President Sarkisian's transition to the prime minister's post.

About 60 protesters have been detained and charged by the police, with several dozen people requiring medical treatment - including Mr Pashinyan. The Civil Contract party PM also called upon his supporters to block streets and disrupt public transportation.

On Monday, the country's police released a warning publicly, demanding opposition leader Pashinyan stop the rallies and disruption of "public order" in the capital, otherwise the "use of force" would be applied to disperse the crowds.

Scuffles and brief clashes took place with police during the second half of Monday when protestors made a decision to march on the parliament. But the Pashinian later returned - sporting a bandaged arm - and vowed to continue the demonstrations. Serzh Sargsyan, who held the office for almost a decade, had promised he wouldn't seek the key job of prime minister. Pashinian, who received injuries to his arms and face, was briefly taken to hospital.

Last month, Armenia's National Assembly elected onetime Prime Minister Armen Sarkissian as the country's next president, replacing the long-tenured Serzh Sargsyan as head of state.

He is expected to be elected by parliament on Tuesday.

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Earlier on Monday, demonstrators marched through the centre of Yerevan and blocked streets, some chanting "Armenia without Serzh" and "Serzh is a liar".

Several hundred people sat or laid down on pavements on Monday, blocking roads leading to the parliament building and universities.

Rallies began on Friday when more than 4,000 people took part. Armenia's HHK-controlled parliament is due to vote for the next premier on Monday.

Ahead of the vote, Sarkisian blamed the opposition for rocking the boat.

However, following a 2015 constitutional referendum the country shifted from a presidential system to a parliamentary republic - relegating the presidency to a more ceremonial role.

Earlier it was reported about 29 detainees, including, in particular, the son of opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, who headed the protest against the appointment of former President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister of the country.

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