Police, protesters clash in Armenia as leader stays in power

Police, protesters clash in Armenia as leader stays in power

Opposition politicians say the shift to a parliamentary republic with a powerful prime minister has been created to increase Serzh Sarkisian's grip on power in the impoverished Moscow-allied country.

The opposition says a new parliamentary system of government will allow Sarkisian, 63, to maintain huge influence under a new parliamentary system of government.

Clashes broke out in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, as protester attempted to storm the parliament building.

"My Step" initiative leader, opposition's Civil Contract Party member and National Assembly (NA) "Way Out" (Yelk) Faction head Nikol Pashinyan jumped over the barbed wire fence set up by police forces, while protesters followed his lead.

Since early morning of April 16, the Armenian Opposition started mass demonstrations of protest against the Armenian 3rd president Serzh Sargsyan, who will soon become the new Prime Minister of the country.

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In the Armenian capital Yerevan protests against the appointment of Serzh Sargsyan to the post of Prime Minister. For the first time, Armenia's president was selected by the National Assembly, rather than by popular vote. Cordons of Riot police holding back a crowd. The latter also fired stun grenades.

"The time has come to liberate Armenia's citizens". The main organizer of the protests, Nicholas Pashinyan called for more large-scale acts of civil disobedience. "With this minor inconvenience we are trying to save you from a greater inconvenience called Serzh Sarkisian", Pashinian shouted repeatedly through a megaphone to the crowd.

The Prosecutor-General's Office said it had opened a criminal investigation in connection with alleged violations of a law on public gatherings.

Armenia, a country of three million people in the southern Caucasus, seceded in 1991 from the then-Soviet Union but still relies on Russian Federation for aid and investment.

"The (party's) council discussed this issue and unanimously supported (Sarksyan's) candidacy", the Republicans said in a statement.

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