An Armenian opposition leader on Monday urged demonstrators to take to the streets again, even after he and dozens of others were hurt in protests over moves by the country's former president to maintain his grip on power. The protesters blocked traffic, which paralyzed for the third day. After the constitutional amendments 2015 the Prime Minister becomes the most powerful official in Armenia.
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.
Nikol Pashinian was briefly hospitalized with cuts and an eye injury after police stopped him and others from entering parliament on April 16, but he soon returned to the fray.
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Yerevan police have so far detained 29 civilians today, arguing they were caught violating a variety of administrative codes.
People oppose the appointment of former President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister. "Right now, these people are protesting against the continuation of the destructive policies that have been conducted under Serzh Sargsyan in Armenia for a very long time", Vahagn Khachatryan drew attention.
About 10,000 people started marching toward parliament early Monday afternoon and were blocked by police using tear gas and stun grenades. The "civil disobedience" actions began early in the morning and quickly attracted thousands of demonstrators, many of them university students.
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That good omen may have escaped him, but for now he's still the man to beat. It's not exactly what I wanted. "We have been underperforming".
Sargsyan, who completed his second and final five-year term as Armenian president on April 9, oversaw the country's transition from a semi-presidential system of governance to a parliamentary system.
The country's new figurehead president, Armen Sarkisian, was sworn in last week but his powers will be weaker under a new system of government.
Ahead of the vote, Sarkisian blamed the opposition for rocking the boat.
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But he said it was "intellectually bankrupt" to expect the security services to lay out all the information they have. There have been calls from opposition parties and some Conservative MPs for Parliament to have a vote beforehand.
While presidential votes have typically been contentious affairs in Armenia, Sarkissian's election was initially met with comparative shrugs, and not just because the real power will now shift to the prime minister's office, which Sargsyan is widely expected to slide into.