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Al-Jazeera, Qatar
April 19 2018
Why are Armenians protesting against the new prime minister?

Tens of thousands take to the streets against nomination and appointment of ex-president Serzh Sargsyan as PM.

Thousands of protesters flood the streets of Yerevan after election of Sargsyan as prime minister [Artyom Geodakyan\TASS via Getty Images]

The political situation in Armenia remains "fragile", according to analysts, as mass protests continue in the capital, Yerevan, for the seventh consecutive day.

The protests began on April 13 after Armenia's ruling Republican Party nominated former President Serzh Sargsyan for the prime minister’s post earlier this month.

Many Armenians do not want to see Sargsyan as the head of the state again, as his government has been accused of corruption and of allowing oligarchs to thrive.

The 63-year-old leader had in the past promised not to run for the post of prime minister but was formally nominated by the Republican Party earlier this month.

The country amended its constitution to change the government from a presidential to a parliamentary system in a 2015 referendum, making the presidency largely ceremonial and strengthening the office of the prime minister.

This would allow Sargsyan, who served two consecutive terms as president until 2018, to maintain his influence on the politics of the country.

Corruption and the oligarchy

"I participated in the protests because I no longer want to see my country ruled by Sargsyan's corrupt party and the oligarchy," Gayane Ghazaryan, a student protester, told Al Jazeera from Yerevan.

"Most people have no jobs or get paid less than $100 a month. The elderly live on a pension of about $60 a month. I don’t want to see my people emigrate to Russia or elsewhere any more. I don’t want to see my country suffer any more.

"Armenia is gradually turning from a democracy into a totalitarian regime," Ghazaryan continued. "We’re protesting because we want to see a country where there is equality and justice."

The protest leader and opposition figure, Nikol Pashinian, declared a popular, non-violent "velvet revolution" in Armenia and urged demonstrators to keep besieging ministries, the prosecutor's office, the central bank and other governmental buildings.

According to local media, activists were able to cut off almost the entire centre of the capital, barricading streets and even preventing the metro from running.

Several protesters arrested

The protests escalated on Thursday as people clashed with the police, resulting in several people being injured and more than 20 being arrested.

"I personally know someone who's currently in the hospital with serious injuries," Mikael Zolyan, a political analyst based in Yerevan, told Al Jazeera.

"However, so far the level of police violence has not been as bad as in 2008 when 10 people died in the clashes [with police]."

According to Lara Aharonian, the director of a women's resource centre, Women of Armenia, "police used excessive and disproportionate force against thousands of peaceful protesters and arbitrarily arrested several activists to prevent them from reaching the Assembly on the day of the parliamentary vote to elect Sargsyan as prime minister on April 17".

"Following that day, there were rallies and civil disobedience actions where peaceful protesters surrounded different government and administrative buildings in different parts of the city, announcing a general strike for students and workers to paralyse the whole city," she told Al Jazeera.

Damage to Sargsyan

But Zolyan, the analyst, says these protests are unlikely to hurt Sargsyan in the short-term and won't prevent him from keeping his post as prime minister.

"But if the opposition succeeds in bringing a serious "fight" to him and demonstrating the will to fight to the end, Sargsyan's rule may not be as calm and long-running as he would like it to be," he told Al Jazeera.

Armenian journalist Grigor Atanesian believes the unrest might bring about significant change.

"A police station takeover in July 2016, followed by mass protests, resulted in Sargsyan bringing in a new prime minister, Karen Karapetyan, who launched a programme of economic reforms," Atanesian told Al Jazeera.

The intensity and pace at which the protests have escalated, has come as a surprise to the authorities and analysts. As protests continue, it is hard to predict what turn they will take.

"The situation is changing very fast, and the number of protesters grew from hundreds to tens of thousands in just ... days," Zolyan, the analyst, said.

"In the coming days, it will be clear: either the government will crush the protests or the protests will be so huge, that they [authorities] won't be able to suppress them. And that will likely result in a scenario similar to what happened during the Arab Spring or during the Euromaidan in Ukraine, which brought about a change of government."

However, according to Zolyan: "Any small incident can make or break this. It's a very tense and fragile situation."


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Ombudsman condemns violence against journalist


There was a discussion procedure for information on violence against journalist Tirayr Muradyan.

Any case of hindrance to a journalist’s professional work should be immediately prevented, and hindrances should be subject to strict sanctions. The Ombudsman states that ensuring the regular work of journalists is important, especially when events of public significance occur.


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The Daily Star
April 20 2018
Dozens of opposition protesters arrested in Armenia


Afp, Yerevan

Dozens were arrested as hundreds of opposition supporters staged sit-ins and attempted to block road traffic in Armenia's capital yesterday to protest ex-president Serzh Sarkisian's election as prime minister.

Many of the demonstrators waved national flags and held up placards reading "Sarkisian is a dictator".

Some attempted to block roads in response to repeated calls by the leader of the protests, opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan to paralyse traffic.

Police said dozens of people were detained.

Since last Friday, opposition supporters have held rallies to denounce Sarkisian's efforts to remain in power as prime minister after a decade serving as president.

Opposition parties have criticised the 63-year-old leader over poverty, corruption and the influence of powerful oligarchs in the country of 2.9 million people.

The spokesman for Sarkisian's ruling Republican Party said the newly elected prime minister would not step down.

"We respects citizens' right to freedom of assembly but we rule out the possibility of the prime minister resigning," Eduard Sharmazanov told journalists late Thursday.

Human Rights Watch condemned the "arbitrary arrests" of demonstrators.

"One should not underestimate the challenges Armenia's police are facing in maintaining law and order, but the ongoing protests are no justification to arbitrarily detain people," it said in a statement.

Parliament elected Sarkisian as prime minister on Tuesday after he served a decade as president from 2008 under a new parliamentary system of government.

Controversial constitutional amendments approved in 2015 have transferred governing powers from the presidency to the premier.

In the biggest protest in Armenia in years, tens of thousands took to the streets over Sarkisian's election as prime minister on Tuesday night but the number of demonstrators has since dwindled.

Some 15,000 rallied in Yerevan on Thursday night.


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News.am, Armenia
April 20 2018
Armenia opposition movement leader’s son is among those detained (VIDEO)
13:27, 20.04.2018

YEREVAN. – A total of 23 people, among them the son of Nikol Pashinyan—“My Step” initiative leader, opposition Civil Contract Party member, and National Assembly (NA) of Armenia “Way Out” (Yelk) Faction head—on Friday were detained and taken to the central police department of capital city Yerevan.

“Way Out” Faction MP Edmon Marukyan, who arrived at this police station, informed about the aforesaid.

According to the police, eleven of these persons were detained for not obeying the police orders.

“The remaining twelve people were detained within the framework of the criminal case, and they actually shall be questioned after documentation,” Marukyan added. “The attorneys noted that they will actually be given a witness status [in this criminal case].”

Police officers, including those in civilian clothes, are detaining demonstrators, and, moreover, with non-police vehicles.

Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday announced that on Friday, they will resume their protest action of total blockade of Yerevan streets. Also, he noted that they will close off subway stations, too, and called on everyone to either not go to work or to join them on Friday.

Pashinyan and his supporters are staging protests in Yerevan ever since April 13, and by marching, holding rallies, as well as blocking streets and squares. They protest against ex-President Serzh Sargsyan being elected Prime Minister of Armenia.

As a result of the clashes during these demonstrations, 46 people—including Pashinyan—were injured, and police detained several dozen people, including minors.

In addition, a criminal case has been filed into the protesters’ bursting into the Public Radio of Armenia building and regarding an incident that occurred at an intersection in downtown Yerevan.

Ex-President Serzh Sargsyan was elected Prime Minister at Tuesday’s NA special session, and by a vote of 77 for and 18 against.



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Dialogue after Serzh leaves politics altogether!

Business Insider

April 20 2018
Armenian president calls for dialogue amid protests against new PM
YEREVAN (Reuters) - Armenian President Armen Sarkissian on Thursday called for dialogue, as thousands continued to protest on the streets against the appointment of the new prime minister, who was president for 10 years before switching jobs this month.
Parliament on Tuesday voted to allow ex-president Serzh Sarksyan to become premier in the former Soviet republic, despite weeks of angry rallies against such a move.
"I'm confident that the only solution is a dialogue and mutual respect," Sarkissian said in a statement.
"As a leader of the country, I'm calling on the sides to hold a dialogue in order to find the best solution in the current situation."
Thousands of opposition activists marched in the center of Yerevan on Thursday, waving national flags and chanting: "Make a stand, say no to Serzh".
They blocked entrances to government buildings and staged sit-ins. In the evening about 15,000 protesters were massed in the main square.
Police detained more than 120 activists.
Sarksyan was president from 2008 until April 9 and demonstrators said he was switching jobs but clinging to power.
Under a revised constitution approved by referendum in 2015, the prime minister will hold most power while the presidency becomes largely ceremonial.
Sarksyan's ally Sarkissian was sworn in as president last week after being elected by parliament. Sarksyan said in March, while still president, he would become prime minister to allow him to share the benefit of his experience.
Armenia seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991 but remains dependent on Russia for aid and investment. Many Armenians accuse the government of corruption and mishandling an economy that has struggled to overcome the legacy of central planning.
(Reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan; writing by Margarita Antidze; editing by Andrew Roche)


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Serzh you had two terms to fix the economy, now it's time for others to try, please resign and go!

Eurasia Daily

April 19 2018
Serzh Sargsyan: Destabilization in Armenia hinders economic growtha010ec6463eb2292d7f221b101cd3.jpgArmenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. Photo: primeminister.am

Foreign or domestic destabilization hinders Armenia’s economic growth. Human rights and freedoms are priorities, but they should be exercised within logic. Prime Minister of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan made such statement in an interview with local Shant TV.

“If exercised within logic, basic human rights will in no way hamper economic development. But when they become unproportionate and grow into traffic jams in Yerevan, how can they have a positive effect?” Serzh Sargsyan said.

He recalled that Armenia has had only a single year of domestic and foreign stability during recent years. “How many stable years did we have during these 10 years? I mean, both domestic and foreign stability. Perhaps, 2017 was the only year when no rallies were held in the streets and tourists could arrive in Yerevan and investors could invest. It was the only year and we registered economic growth of 7.5% that year. We need only few years, a few years to make that growth felt by the people. Of course, discontents happen anyway, because the better people live the more demands they have. Our task is to achieve a minimum level for the people to be able to realize at least half of their desires. That’s the problem,” the prime minister said.

To recall, protests and civil disobedience actions initiated by Nikol Pashinyan, oppositionist MP, leader of #MyStep movement, are aimed against election of Serzh Sargsyan, the ex-president, leader of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) as prime minister. Protesters planned to block the avenue leading to the parliament building on April 17 to prevent voting for Serzh Sargsyan’s election as prime minister. However, the police took unprecedented measures to lead parliamentarians into the building and ensure the voting. The parliament was surrounded with police, special equipment and wired fencing from all sides.

Pashinyan announced a start of a “Velvet Revolution” and urged protesters to block governmental buildings. Today, on April 19, Pashinyan and his supporters planned to block the building of the Cabinet to prevent the first session with participation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

Подробнее: https://eadaily.com/en/news/2018/04/19/serzh-sargsyan-destabilization-in-armenia-hinders-economic-growth



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TASS, Russia
April 20 2018
Armenian opposition 'ready for dialogue' after PM steps down
April 20, 21:27 UTC+3 YEREVAN
Mass rallies began in Yerevan and other cities of Armenia on Monday
1 pages in this article

YEREVAN, April 20. /TASS/. The leader of Armenia's Civil Contract opposition party, MP Nikol Pashinyan, said at a protest rally in Yerevan on Friday evening that the opposition is ready for dialogue only on condition of resignation of Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, a TASS correspondent reported from the site.


"We are ready for dialogue, but only after Serzh Sargsyan steps down. After that, the parliament will elect a "people’s candidate" to the post of prime minister. The Armenian constitution gives the prime minister and government 20 days to present their program. We will have a political agreement that the lawmakers would turn down this program, after which the parliament would be dissolved. And then, we will appoint extraordinary parliamentary polls," Pashinyan said.

Mass rallies began in Yerevan and other cities of Armenia on Monday protesting against the nomination of former president Serzh Sargsyan’s candidacy for prime minister. On Tuesday, Sargsyan was elected prime minister. Nikol Pashinyan declared a ‘velvet revolution’ and urged his supporters to peaceful civil disobedience actions.

On Thursday, opposition activists tried to break down a meeting of the new cabinet having clocked approaches to government buildings. Apart from that, they organized a 3,000-strong protest rally. Police detained 123 activists throughout the day. Protests continues into Friday, when 233 protesters were detained.


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I don't know why, but I feel this could be a false flag operation by the corrupt powers in order to undermine the protests and use force against unarmed civilians.

News.am, Armenia

April 21 2018
Armenian intelligence distributes a new video about thwarting terrorist attack

YEREVAN. – The National Security Service of Armenia has distributed a video about prevention of terrorist attack.

Earlier it was reported, that the Service was alerted about a criminal gang set up by A.B. and Sh. M. who earlier had contacts to Jirayr Sefilyan and Sasna Tsrer group. The gang planned to install explosive devices in public places, including at Liberty Square and Dalma Mall, under bridges, 100-150 meters far from residential buildings, in order to cause death or bodily injuries of law enforcers and other officials. Their actions were aimed at creating an atmosphere of fear and inserting pressure on the public administration bodies to make them fulfill their demands, the statement says.

According to the National Security Service, A.B and Sh. M. manufactured and tested an explosive device, and tried to recruit other persons, promising them and their families a shelter in case of threat as well as financial assistance.

A group of investigators conducted 19 searches in the apartments and vehicles and discovered powder filters, detonators, materials for improvised explosive devices. A.B. and Sh.M and other four suspects were detained.




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Serzh Sargsyan Armenia is not a Kingdom or a Sultanate. We don't need or want a KING or a SULTAN. You changed the constitution in order to stay in power, just like ErDOGan and Fake Aliyev. If you wanted to copy them, why didn't you declare yourself president for life when you changed the constitution? Your time is up just please leave in peace and let the country live in peace.

Deutsche Welle, Germany

April 21 2018
Armenia: Tens of thousands call for PM Serzh Sargsyan to step down after 'power grab'

Police have arrested more than 230 protesters attempting to block streets and stage sit-ins. Opposition leaders have described the president-turned-prime minister as a "political corpse," vowing to reject dialogue.

Tens of thousands of opposition supporters have taken to the streets of the Armenian capital, Yerevan, calling for former President Serzh Sargsyan to step down as prime minister and demanding fresh parliamentary elections.

Armenia has been rocked by protests over the past week after Sargsyan signaled his intention to become premier despite serving two terms as president. On Tuesday, Armenia's parliament swore him in as prime minister under a new parliamentary system, making him the country's most powerful official.

Sargsyan served briefly as prime minister in 2007, was elected president in 2008 and this week became prime minister again. In 2015, a referendum transferred power from the president to the prime minister.

Some protesters clashed with police while trying to block streets and stage sit-ins. At least 230 people were arrested, according to police figures.

Call for dialogue

Sargsyan called for immediate dialogue with the protesters. "I'm deeply concerned by political developments in the country and call on MP Nikol Pashinian to start a political dialogue in order to avoid irreversible losses," Sargsyan said in a statement. "It should be done immediately."

Pashinian, who has led the protests, rebuffed Sargsyan's offer of dialogue, saying he was only prepared to discuss the prime minister's resignation.

"We are only ready to discuss the conditions of his departure," news agencies quoted Pashinian as saying after Sargsyan called on the opposition to enter into talks with authorities.

'Velvet revolution'

Other demonstrators held up placards reading "Sargsyan is a dictator," chanted slogans such as "Make a stand, say not to Serzh" and waved national flags. Decrying government corruption, one protester said she wanted a "free, fair Armenia, where there's decent education and plenty of jobs."

Read more: Eurasia's fault lines move between sovereignty and democracy

"The whole world can see that this is a people's velvet revolution, which very soon will be victorious," opposition leader Nikol Pashinian told protesters. "Sargsyan himself is a political corpse and one does not conduct a dialogue with a corpse."


Earlier this week, police warned protesters against disrupting public order

Holding on

Sargsyan came to power in 2008, when he won the presidential election. However, the results triggered mass protests and deadly clashes with authorities.

Since assuming office, he has managed to balance a pro-Kremlin foreign policy with closer ties to the EU. Analysts have said his transition to the prime minister's office mirrors similar moves by political leaders in other former Soviet countries.

Read more: Uncertainty, competition mark the space between the EU and Russia

"Obviously, this is a mechanism that allows Armenia's current ruling elite to stay in charge," said Thomas de Waal, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think-tank. "It's a familiar tactic in the post-Soviet space, where leaders endlessly tinker with their constitutions to perpetuate their power."




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Armen Sarkissian choose wisely, are you for democracy or corruption!


News.am, Armenia

April 21 2018
Armenian President arrives at Republic Square

YEREVAN.- Armenian President Armen Sarkissian has arrived to Yerevan’s Republic Square to meet with opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan.

As Armenian News-NEWS.am reported, Sarkissian came to the square accompanied by a small number of bodyguards.

It should be noted that Armen Sarkissian released a statement earlier today, noting that he is "willing to meet with Armenian MP Nikol Pashinyan with the purpose of mitigating the existing tension through dialogue between political forces.”

Earlier it was reported that Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan urged Nikol Pashinyan to immediately start political dialogue and sit down at the negotiating table, and the police threatened to disperse the rally.









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It sounds like a fear tactic to me, we've had elections before we can have one also after you resignation!

ARKA, Armenia

April 21 2018
Armenian prime minister explains why he agreed to take the post

YEREVAN, April 21. /ARKA/. In a response letter to an open letter addressed to Armenian prime minister Serzh Sargsyan by a group of Armenian graduates of foreign universities, Sargsyan presented the reasons why he agreed to become Armenia’s prime minister after serving two terms as president.

The open letter to the prime minister was signed by 61 Armenian citizens who graduated from prestigious foreign universities with the financial support from the Luys Foundation. In their letter they asked Sargsyan to resign.

In the response letter Sargsyan says the main reason why he agreed to be nominated for the post of prime minister by his Republican Party of Armenia was the need to ensure Armenia's security.

"The decision was due to one circumstance: in our geopolitically complex region and in a period full of challenges, we are obliged to ensure the country's safe development and continue efforts aimed at a worthy resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem," Sargsyan said. He noted that the problems raised by the authors of the letter are resolvable, and once they are resolved, other people may govern the country.

In a statement issued earlier today Serzh Sargsyan said mass street protests were e fraught with unpredictable consequences, endangering the public order, and could undermine the complex and subtle harmony of Armenian society.

‘Each of us must remember that besides him, there are other citizens of Armenia who are not less proud of their civic stance; who live, learn, work and rest in this country. Our country’s social harmony should be based on cohesion and tolerance. I am deeply concerned about the inner-political developments. In order to avoid irreparable losses, I am urging National Assembly member Nikol Pashinyan to accept our call of political dialogue and joint the table of negotiations. It should be done immediately. I am confident that all the political forces of our country can contribute to the launch of such a dialogue adequate to the situation.

However, Pashinyan responded that the only issue he could discuss with the authorities was Sargsyan’s resignation, after which other terms, which should be acceptable not for him, but for the people, could be discussed

The anti-government protests in Armenia began on April 13 after Armenia's ruling Republican Party nominated former president Serzh Sargsyan for the prime minister’s post. Serzh Sargsyan resigned as president on April 9 and was elected as prime minister during a special session of parliament on April 17 by a vote of 77 to 17.

According to Armenia’s amended its constitution, approved in a national referendum in 2015, Armenia has switched the government from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary system making the presidency largely ceremonial and strengthening the office of the prime minister.

The protests are led by Nikol Pashinyan, the head of the opposition Yelk parliamentary faction, who declared April 17 the beginning of popular, non-violent "velvet revolution" urging demonstrators to keep besieging ministries, the prosecutor's office, the central bank and other governmental buildings.-0-




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Armenian prime minster — who is also the country's former president — resigns after protests Serzh Sargsyan's appointment caused 10 days of protests in the capital before his resignation Monday

xaz128-ap.jpgA demonstrator waves an Armenian national flag during a protest against the appointment of former President Serzh Sargsyan as the new prime minister, in Yerevan, Armenia, Sunday, April 22, 2018. Crowds of protesters gathered in various districts of Yerevan and there were clashes as police tried to break them up, with some scores of demonstrators detained Sunday, said police spokesman Ashot Aragonian.Aram Kirakosyan / AP
Avet Demourian

April 23, 2018

10:31 AM EDT

YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned unexpectedly on Monday, an apparent move to bring to an end massive anti-government protests.

Residents of the capital, Yerevan, poured out on the streets to celebrate. People hugged and kissed each other, and motorists honked their horns.

The surprise move, announced on his website, followed 10 days of protests in the capital, Yerevan, against Sargsyan’s appointment as prime minister, which is part of a transition to a new governmental system that reduces the powers of the presidency and bolsters those of the premier.

Critics saw the move as an attempt to stay in power by Sargsyan, who served as president from 2008 until term limits forced him out in March. Armen Sarkisian, a former prime minister and ambassador to Britain, was elected in his place.

Thousands of anti-government protesters have been rallying on the streets of Yerevan since April 13, and Sunday’s rally attracted some 50,000 demonstrators.

Nikol Pashinian, the protest leader, was arrested on Sunday after he met the prime minister for talks. He was released Monday afternoon.

Sargsyan in a stunning statement on Monday admitted that he should not have resisted the demands of the opposition.

“Nikol Pashinian was right. I was wrong,” he said.

Opposition leaders have not yet commented on Sargsyan’s resignation and have called a rally in central Yerevan for Monday evening.

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I'm proud to call myself Armenian today, it's done without colour revolution or blood shed. Thank you citizens of Armenia you showed the world how it's done in particular the youth, job well done. I'm glad Serzh saw the writing on the wall and resigned I hope he takes some of the oligarchs with him because their time is up as well. Armenia is above every person, long live Armenia free from East or West.

Edited by Yervant1
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The Guardian, UK

April 22 2018

Armenian opposition leader detained amid political unrest

Nikol Pashinyan ‘forcibly taken’ by police following a meeting with new PM Serzh Sarksyan


Sun 22 Apr 2018 11.57 BST Last modified on Sun 22 Apr 2018 15.59 BST


The new Armenian PM Serzh Sarksyan, left, debates Nikol Pashinyan in a televised encounter, shortly before Pashinyan, an opposition leader, was detained. Photograph: Vano Shlamov/AFP/Getty Images

Armenian police have detained the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan as protests against the former president Serzh Sarksyan’s appointment as prime minister entered a tenth day.

Police said Pashinyan was forcibly taken from a rally on Sunday, shortly after Sarksyan rejected demands to step down, as riot police and demonstrators clashed in the capital. Nearly 200 protesters were also detained.

Demonstrators accuse Sarksyan of clinging to power following 10 years as president. Tens of thousands of opponents have marched through Yerevan in recent days, blocking streets in the city centre and staging sit-ins.

Under a revised constitution approved in a 2015 referendum, most state powers in the small, former Soviet state have shifted to the prime minister and the presidency has become a largely ceremonial post. Opponents say the shift effectively makes Sargsyan Armenia’s leader for life.

Sarksyan met Pashinyan, the opposition politician leading the protests, in Yerevan on Sunday but left talks a few minutes after their talks began.

“This is not talks, not a dialogue. It’s just an ultimatum, blackmail of the state, of the legitimate authorities,” Sarksyan told Pashinyan.

He said the opposition had failed to learn the lesson of 1 March, referring to a protest rally after his re-election in 2008 when 10 people were killed in clashes with police.

“No one has dared and will dare speak to us in the language of threats. I am telling you, you have no understanding of the situation in the country. The situation is different to the one you knew 15-20 days ago,” Pashinyan told Sarksyan.

“The situation in Armenia has changed, you don’t have the power of which you are told. In Armenia, the power has passed to the people,” he said.

Pashinyan then vowed to step up pressure on Sarksyan to force him to resign. He was detained hours after the encounter.

“Despite repeated calls to stop illegal rallies, Pashinyan continued leading a demonstration,” police said in a statement, adding that he and two other opposition MPs were forcibly taken from the site as riot police dispersed the rally. They dismissed reports that Pashinyan had been arrested.

Sasun Mikaelyan, an opposition MP, earlier told journalists that Pashinyan had been arrested. “People must liberate Nikol,” he said.

As an MP, Pashinyan is protected by a parliamentary immunityand cannot be arrested without its approval, according to the constitution.

Opposition supporters have criticised 63-year-old Sarksyan over poverty, corruption and the influence of powerful oligarchs in the landlocked South Caucasus nation of 2.9 million people.

More than 70 people were arrested on Saturday, according to authorities, including two people suspected of preparing bombs. In the evening, about 50,000 demonstrators gathered in the capital’s central Republic Square.

AP, Reuters and AFP contributed to this report

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Washington Post

April 23 2018

Armenia’s prime minister resigns amid large-scale protests

by Amie Ferris-Rotman

April 23 at 9:16 AM Email the author

MOSCOW — Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan said Monday that he was stepping down as premier amid large-scale protests against his rule.

Anti-government demonstrations erupted almost two weeks ago against the pro-Russian Sargsyan when he was appointed prime minister after a decade as president, part of a new transition of governance that bolsters the role of the premier. The move effectively tightened the 63-year-old’s grip over the former Soviet republic in the South Caucasus.

Sargsyan’s political opponents accused him of changing the law so he could effectively retain power into a second decade.

Tens of thousands of people, including unarmed members of the military and clergymen, have taken part in the protests — crowding the center of the capital, Yerevan — against widespread corruption and what they called Sargsyan’s authoritarian rule.

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April 23 2018

Armenian PM Sarksyan resigns after days of street protests


© Emmanuel Dunand, AFP | Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan takes part in a EU Eastern Partnership summit with six eastern partner countries at the European Council in Brussels on November 24, 2017.

Latest update : 2018-04-23

Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan said on Monday he would resign to help maintain peace in the ex-Soviet republic following daily street protests since before he took up the post on April 17.

Sarksyan, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had served as Armenia's president for a decade until earlier this month and had faced accusations of clinging to power when parliament voted for him to take up the post of prime minister.

Earlier on Monday pressure on the 63-year-old to quit increased sharply when unarmed Armenian soldiers joined the anti-government protests in the capital Yerevan, which first began on April 13.

"I got it wrong," Sarksyan said in a statement issued by his office.

"In the current situation there are several solutions, but I won't choose any of them. It's not my style. I am quitting the country's leadership and the post of prime minister of Armenia."

Under a revised constitution, the prime minister now holds most power in the impoverished southern Caucasus nation, while the presidency has become largely ceremonial.


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Asharq Al-awsat English
April 23 2018
Armenia Thrown into More Turmoil as Soldiers Join Protests
Monday, 23 April, 2018 - 09:00
Law enforcement officers disperse protesters at a rally against the appointment of ex-president Serzh Sarkisian as the new premier in Yerevan, Armenia. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A group of Armenian soldiers joined on Monday anti-government protests that have swept the capital Yerevan and other cities for almost two weeks.

Images of hundreds of men wearing military uniforms marching with protesters had earlier appeared on a live stream of the demonstrations being broadcast on the Internet.

The Defense Ministry condemned the soldiers who took part in the illegal protests, vowing that “harsh legal measures” will be taken against them.

Earlier opposition supporters staged more protests in the capital, a day after protest leader and lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan was detained by authorities.

On the eleventh day of the protests, hundreds of students, some medical students in white coats, marched arm-in-arm through the streets, holding Armenian flags.

Young men in small groups briefly blocked roads and shouted slogans such as "Join us!" and "Victory" and Pashinyan’s name as drivers beeped their horns in support.

The demonstrations, which drew tens of thousands in Yerevan over the weekend, are protesting the rule of Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, the country's former president.

The whereabouts of Pashinyan, the leader of the Civil Contract Party, were unclear after he was detained. As a lawmaker, Pashinyan is protected by parliamentary immunity and cannot be arrested without the approval of fellow MPs.

His lawyer Rustam Badasyan wrote on Facebook: "There is no answer to the question where he is."

The speaker of the country's parliament, the National Assembly, met Pashinyan and the other detained politicians overnight, however, the parliament's spokesman told AFP, without giving details.

The speaker Ara Babloyan was quoted as saying that he urged Pashinyan and the others "to take part in real talks."

Pashinyan and two other opposition politicians "were detained as they were committing socially dangerous acts", the prosecutor general's office said in a statement on Sunday.

Sarkisian earlier on Sunday stormed out of tense televised talks with Pashinyan, accusing him of "blackmail."

“I am telling you: you have no understanding of the situation in the country. The situation is different to the one you knew 15-20 days ago,” he told Sarkisian.

“The situation in Armenia has changed, you don’t have the power of which you are told. In Armenia, the power has passed to the people,” he said.

Pashinyan last week announced the "start of a peaceful velvet revolution" in the landlocked country of 2.9 million people.

Nearly 200 people were detained at protest rallies held across Yerevan on Sunday, while on Monday the Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, said that 26 had been detained on suspicion of "hooliganism" and use of violence against police.

In a statement, the European Union’s foreign policy arm called for more dialogue and a peaceful resolution.

“All those who have been detained while exercising their fundamental right of assembly in accordance with the law must be released immediately,” it said.

“It is of utmost importance that all parties involved show restraint and act responsibly.”

Sarkisian was elected prime minister by lawmakers last week under a new parliamentary system of government that transfers power from the presidency to the premier, while the president becomes largely a ceremonial role.

Sarkisian, a shrewd former military officer, was first elected as president of the impoverished Moscow-allied country in 2008.

After that poll, 10 people died in bloody clashes between police and supporters of the defeated opposition candidate.

He was reelected in 2013, with his second and final term ending April 9.

The protests, though peaceful so far, threaten to destabilize a key Russian ally in a volatile region riven by a long low level conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and would, if successful, be a rare example of people power delivering reform in the former Soviet Union.

Critics accuse Sarkisian of ruling the South Caucasus nation for too long, of being too close to Russia which has military bases inside Armenia, and of doing too little to root out corruption.

Sarkisian says his country needs him and that his party enjoys large-scale popular support.
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Aljazeera.com, Qatar
April 23 2018
Armenia soldiers join anti-government protests in Yerevan
Hundreds of troops join Yervan protest, calling on prime minister Sargsyan to step down over corruption allegations.
23 Apr 2018 11:03 GMT
Protesters have demanded Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia's prime minister, to step down [Vahram Baghdasaryan/Reuters]
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.

The protest movement, which has seen thousands of people take to the streets since April 13, largely comprised a network of self-organising opposition supporters, built by Pashinyan.

According to Walker, the mood among the protesters has been largely positive, adding that it is hard to know what will happen next.

"Both sides will be watching each other very closely on how to move forward," he said.

Protesters have called on Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia's prime minister, to step down citing corruption allegations and fears of oligarchic, authoritarian rule.

Sargsyan was appointed prime minister this month after serving 10 years as the country's president.

However, Sargsyan has made clear he has no intention of stepping down.


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You knew other solutions would have cost you dearly, that's why you resigned. Even your resignation is filled with selfishness just go away!

Public Radio of Armenia

April 23 2018
Armenia’s Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigns

Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has issued a statement announcing his resignation.

“Dear compatriots,

I’m addressing all citizens of the Republic of Armenia, the elderly and the dear youth, women and men.

I’m addressing those standing in streets chanting “Say no to Serzh” and those trying to reach their offices through blocked streets.

I’m addressing all those following the live broadcasts and those ensuring public security day and night.

I’m addressing our brave soldiers and officers standing on the border and my fellows-in-arms.

I’m addressing my fellow party-men, all forces and politicians.

I’m addressing as the head of state for the last time.

Nikol Pashinayn was right. I was mistaken. There are several solutions to this situation, but I will not apply to any of them. It’s not for me. I’m leaving the post of the country’s leader, the Prime Minister.

The struggle in the streets is against my tenure. I’m fulfilling your demand.

I wish peace, harmony and reason to our country.”




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April 23 2018
Armenian PM Sarksyan resigns after days of street protests
© Emmanuel Dunand, AFP | Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan takes part in a EU Eastern Partnership summit with six eastern partner countries at the European Council in Brussels on November 24, 2017.
Latest update : 2018-04-23
Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan said on Monday he would resign to help maintain peace in the ex-Soviet republic following daily street protests since before he took up the post on April 17.
Sarksyan, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had served as Armenia's president for a decade until earlier this month and had faced accusations of clinging to power when parliament voted for him to take up the post of prime minister.
Earlier on Monday pressure on the 63-year-old to quit increased sharply when unarmed Armenian soldiers joined the anti-government protests in the capital Yerevan, which first began on April 13.
"I got it wrong," Sarksyan said in a statement issued by his office.
"In the current situation there are several solutions, but I won't choose any of them. It's not my style. I am quitting the country's leadership and the post of prime minister of Armenia."
Under a revised constitution, the prime minister now holds most power in the impoverished southern Caucasus nation, while the presidency has become largely ceremonial.


Achqd luys Hay joghovurd !!! mi nor skizb !!!

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