Ex-president Serzh Sargsyan appointed Armenian PM as opposition declares 'velvet revolution'

Yerevan “Reject Serzh” Activists Block Mashtots Avenue

Pashinian's wife told RFE/RL that the protest leader was taken to the Nairi Medical Center in Yerevan to be treated but that he meant to return to join thousands of Armenians who have been protesting Sarkisian's expected approval as prime minister.

The ruling Republican Party of Armenia and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) factions on April 16 unanimously approved Sarkisian as the nominee for the post. Parliament voted 77 to 17 in favour of his appointment.

Anti-government protesters in Armenia have been urged to continue their fight.

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.

Clashes with police continued on Tuesday, with at least 29 people detained, according to RFE/RL.

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Many Armenians want to see a genuine change in their country but they feel that they are being deprived of that opportunity because the leadership remains the same.

"We must not allow Armenia's transformation into an autocratic country where the same man remains in power for an indefinite time", 23-year-old student Karen Mirzoyan, told AFP at the rally. The latter require that they do not restrict the right to movement of citizens. Pashinyan gained another prominent ally on Monday in radical opposition leader Jirayr Sefilian, who publicly endorsed the protests from his jail cell. It was the first presidential election since a 2015 constitutional referendum that was created to shift power in Armenia from the presidency to parliament and, mainly, the prime minister.

Activists opposed to Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister have been marching through Vanadzor, Armenia's third largest city.

Having previously played down suggestions he would run again for political office, Sargsyan announced on 11 April that he would seek the position of Prime Minister. Pashinian and other opposition leaders now accuse him of breaking that pledge.

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