Published: Wed, April 18, 2018

Armenia ex-leader Serzh Sarkisian elected PM despite protests

Armenia ex-leader Serzh Sarkisian elected PM despite protests

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinian has called on supporters to wage a campaign of "total disobedience".

Clashes with police continued on Tuesday, with at least 29 people detained, according to RFE/RL.

He is not the first strongman in the region to circumvent term limit laws by becoming prime minister: In 2008, Russia's Vladimir Putin did just that, swapping positions with Dmitry Medvedev.

Police in Yerevan are bracing for fresh rallies today as protests against the rule of president-turned-premier Serzh Sargsyan continue for a fifth day.

As the ruling Republican Party dominates parliament together with their junior coalition partner, Sargsyan's appointment as prime minister was virtually certain once he was accepted as a candidate.

This is the fifth day of protests against what opposition groups are dubbing a "power grab" by the former leader. Many followed his lead by offering police officers tulips.

Authorities beefed up police presence and put in place cordons which some protesters broke through.

It is against the background of his nomination for Prime Minister, the Armenian opposition holds mass protests against the candidacy of Sargsyan.

The politician called to block tomorrow all streets leading to the National Assembly.

Police didn't try to disperse the protesters Tuesday, and the rally went on peacefully. Pashinyan was injured in the fracas and taken to hospital. Police officers sustained injuries with boring and sharp objects.

Returning to the protest scene, Pashinyan was greated by his fellow MPs from his bloc in parliament, Yelk. Estimates of the number of protesters reached the 10s of thousands. Despite the heavy police presence, officers made no attempt to arrest the attackers.

The latest clashes were accompanied by accusations exchanged between Pashinian and Valeri Osipian, a deputy chief at the Yerevan police department, who warned the former against engaging in "provocative" actions.

Pashinyan urged protesters to occupy the prosecutor's office and supreme court buildings.

"We need to start right now, streets are to be blockaded this night".

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