Opposition supporters continued to protest the confirmation of former President Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister in the capital Yerevan on Thursday, April 19. Hundreds of demonstrators attempted to block access to government offices on Republic Square around 08:30 (local time). Minor scuffles between protesters and the police were reported. According to police officials, as of 13:30, 106 people have been arrested. Opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinian is calling for supporters to gather again at Republic Square at 19:00. Further demonstrations are likely in the coming days. Significant transportation disruptions as well as an increased security presence are anticipated citywide.
Sargsyan was scheduled to hold his first cabinet meeting on Thursday but was forced to delay the meeting by several hours due to the protests. Demonstrations have been taking place regularly in Yerevan since April 13.
In December 2015, a controversial constitutional amendment was passed that changed Armenia's government from a semipresidential system to a parliamentary republic. Under the new government, the president has a largely ceremonial role while the prime minister becomes more powerful. Opponents claim that the new system was designed to allow Sargsyan (first elected president in April 2008) to maintain control of the government following the end of his term on April 9. Opposition leaders have called for a "Velvet Revolution" in a bid to "preserve" democracy in the country.
Individuals present in Armenia, particularly in Yerevan, are advised to avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence and monitor the situation.
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