Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Police, anti-govt protesters injured in clashes near Armenian parliament

Thousands Crowd Central Yerevan Ahead Of Prime Minister Vote Sargsyan officially nominated for office amid continuing protests
Andrew Cummings | 17 April, 2018, 18:42

Armenia's former president Serzh Sargsyan has been elected a Prime Minister with 77 votes for and 17 against.

The policemen were pushing the protesters to the sidewalks, several people were taken to custody.

Nikol Pashinyan called on friends and relatives of the detainees to block streets and avenues of the capital city. One of its main platforms was criticizing constitutional changes approved following a December 2015 referendum changing Armenia's form of government to a parliamentary system instead of a quasi-presidential system. Police urged protesters not to violate public order. As a result, 46 people, including six police officers, were injured, Armenia's Health Ministry reported.

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.

Meanwhile, the national police issued a written appeal to Pashinian saying that the protests will be forcibly broken up if he continues defy their warnings. Serzh Sargsyan, who held the office for almost a decade, had promised he wouldn't seek the key job of prime minister.

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"Serzh Sargsyan must see that he has no Armenia to rule in and no people to rule over".

Security forces clad in full riot gear used batons and stun grenades against the crowd when it attempted to break through a police cordon several hundred meters away from the parliament building. "Many people believed this because, four years ago when the Constitution was amended, he said that he was not going to rule the country for the third time - and even stressed that, according to his experience, the same person should seek a third term", he explained.

The country's new figurehead president, Armen Sarkissian, was sworn in last week but his powers will be weaker under a new parliamentary system of government.

Ahead of the vote, Sarkisian blamed the opposition for rocking the boat.

Serzh Sargsyan was elected president of Armenia in 2008 and again in 2013, serving two five-year terms before stepping down.

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