Armenia parliament swears in new PM despite protests

Serzh Sargsy's election has triggered a wave of protests

The following statement refers to a week of protests and acts of civil disobedience in Yerevan and other towns regarding the nomination and April 17 election of ex-Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister. Under the amendments made to the constitution following a referendum in 2015, the system of governance changed in Armenia, with more powers being handed to the prime minister, elected by parliament.

Anti-government protesters continue to block several main roads in the capital, using benches and rubbish bins to stop the traffic.

Pashinyan and his supporters are marching along city center chanting "Take a Step, Reject Serzh!" and calling the people to join them and dictate their will to the government.

The police have already removed wired fencing from the avenue, where buildings of the parliament, president's compound, and the Constitutional Court are located, but deployed Police cordon instead.

"We are monitoring the developments in Armenia, and above all we hope that things will unfold within the framework of law", Peskov added. The ex-president had formally stated he would "not aspire" for the prime minister position.

Opposition rallies were held in central Yerevan the Armenian capital
Opposition rallies were held in central Yerevan the Armenian capital Credit KAREN MINASYAN AFP

Sarkisian, a former military officer, has been in charge of the landlocked South Caucasus nation of 2.9 million people for a decade.

Demonstrators led by Armenian MP Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the opposition Civil Contract party, surrounded the building of Yerevan Municipality at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, urging Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan to go out.

"The scale of protests proves that huge public anger has grown over the past few years", political observer Stepan Safaian said.

Mr Pashinyan earlier urged protesters in Yerevan and in other cities to blockade state institutions.

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