Police haul off at least 80 protestors in Yerevan

Frederick Owens
April 17, 2018

Police used tear gas and stun grenades as they clashed Monday with anti-government protesters in Armenia, leaving several people wounded, after thousands of opposition supporters began to march toward parliament in Yerevan.

Earlier, the press Secretary of the Armenian police Ashot Aharonyan said that several protesters taken to police stations.

The protesters, many with Armenian flags in their hands, filled the Marshal Baghramyan Avenue leading to the building of the National Assembly, and at the same time blocked the traffic in the city centre. Authorities said 46 people - including six police - sought medical help.

Protest leader Nikol Pashinyan was also reportedly among the injured and suffered lacerate wounds after falling on the barbed wire.

Police said 14 demonstrators were briefly detained.

The ex-president's allies claim that he never explicitly pledged not to become prime minister. Opposition protests against Serzh Sargsyan being elected as Prime Minister․.

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Local media report that before he was officially sworn in, Mr Sargsyan told parliament that under the new constitution the prime minister would be "under parliament's control and can be replaced for political reasons".

Ironically, Pashinian himself was taken to a hospital with cuts and an eye injury after police moved in to stop the opposition lawmaker and others from entering parliament on April 16.

As a result, presidential veto powers were stripped from the president and the post was downgraded to a figurehead position elected by parliament every seven years rather than by a direct popular vote.

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

Earlier it was reported about 29 detainees, including, in particular, the son of opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, who headed the protest against the appointment of former President Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister of the country.

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.

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