Large protests took place in the capital city of Yerevan on Monday, April 16, against the planned confirmation of former President Serzh Sargsyan for Prime Minister. Of the estimated 10,000 people who took part in Monday’s demonstrations, at least 46 people were injured during clashes with security personnel.
Additional protests are likely to take place through Tuesday, April 17, when Sargsyan is set to be confirmed as Prime Minister. Demonstrations will likely center around the National Assembly building, but others may take place in other locations of the city. Significant transportation disruptions as well as an increased security presence are anticipated citywide.
In December 2015, a controversial constitutional amendment was passed that will change Armenia’s government from a semipresidential system to a parliamentary republic. Under the new government, the president will have a largely ceremonial role while the prime minister will become more powerful. Opponents claimed that the new system was designed to allow Sargsyan (first elected President in April 2008) to maintain control in the government after his term ended on April 9.
Individuals present in Armenia, particularly in Yerevan, are advised to avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence and to monitor the situation.