Opposition activists block mayor's office in Yerevan

Opposition activists block mayor's office in Yerevan

The leader of the protests is Nikol Pashinian, an opposition MP whose Way Out movement wants Armenia to forge closer ties with the European Union, and who believes that the country's decision to join the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union was a mistake.

Police have detained about thirty people.

Supporters of opposition parties in Armenia have blocked government buildings and streets in the capital since Friday, but the demonstrations did not deter lawmakers from voting 77-17 to confirm ex-President Serzh Sargsyan as the new prime minister. He told reporters that a peaceful revolution is about to happen in Armenia. He also called for spreading protests across Armenia.

But the number of demonstrators dwindled on Wednesday, compared with Tuesday's rally of some 40,000 - the largest Armenia has seen in years.

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) factions, which together have a majority in parliament, unanimously chose Sarkisian as the nominee for the prime minister's post earlier in April, and the protests began on April 13.

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

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

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Demonstrations in Gyumri are held near the Regional Administration office of Shirak. Pashinyan, who is continuing the protests in spite of the election, is calling for a "velvet revolution" (a term referencing the nonviolent political transition in Czechoslovakia from communism to a Western-style democracy at the end of 1989).

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

"The chances of the ongoing protests growing into a revolution are low, but in case the authorities fail to deliver on the people's main demand - the demand for change - a revolution will not take long to arrive", he added.

President Armen Sarkisian, who is not related to Serzh Sarkisian, issued a statement the same day warning against disturbances. His critics vowed to block Tuesday's parliament session to keep him from being confirmed, but police cordoned off the area hours before the vote.

The opposition leader also called on prominent Diaspora Armenians Serj Tankian, Charles Aznavour and Arsinee Khanjian to join them at the square.

Protests have resumed in Yerevan today in the morning.

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