Police make fresh calls as opposition protests continue in Yerevan

Police make fresh calls as opposition protests continue in Yerevan

Police make fresh calls as opposition protests continue in Yerevan

On Thursday, more than 15,000 protesters staged a rally outside government headquarters as Sarkisian chaired his first cabinet meeting since the controversial vote.

While opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters are rallying along the streets of Yerevan, Police urges demonstrator to refrain from "unlawful acts".

Under a revised constitution approved by referendum in 2015, the prime minister will hold most power while the presidency becomes largely ceremonial.

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Protest leader Pashinyan this week called for "a peaceful velvet revolution".

Protest organisers have vowed to mount a nationwide campaign of "civil disobedience" in opposition to the Kremlin-backed Sarkisian who was on Tuesday elected to the post of prime minister after a decade serving as president.

On Wednesday, police unblocked some of the streets cut by protesters and detained 84 demonstrators, according to police spokesman Ashot Agaronian.

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One should not underestimate the challenges Armenia's police are facing in maintaining law and order, but the ongoing protests are no justification to arbitrarily detain people.

"As of now 233 people were delivered to police departments", Dzhanoyan said.

Tens of thousands protested in Armenia's capital on Friday against what they say is a power-grab by ex-president Serzh Sarkisian, as police arrested 230 people. He was nominated by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation/Dashnaktsutiun. The protests have been mostly peaceful, but brief clashes with police on April 16 left 46 people injured, including six policemen.

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Sarkisian was first elected in 2008 in the South Caucasus country of about 3 million people and served two terms. Sarkisian had promised in the past that would not seek to be prime minister, and Pashinian and other opposition leaders accuse him of breaking that pledge. With the change, the office of the president was stripped of many of its powers - even as the power of the prime minister was given a substantial boost.

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