On Thursday, April 26, opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan called on supporters to suspend the daily protests they had been holding in the capital Yerevan in order to facilitate talks with the government. However, on Friday the country’s acting prime minister rejected Pashinyan’s call to dialogue. As such, protests could continue on Friday and into the following days, notably at the city’s Republic Square. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be expected around demonstration sites.
Anti-government demonstrations have been taking place daily in Yerevan since April 13, eventually leading to the April 23 resignation of former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. Hundreds of protesters have been detained by police.
Sociopolitical tensions have been high in the country since December 2015, when a controversial constitutional amendment changed Armenia's government from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary republic. Under the new government, the president has a largely ceremonial role while the prime minister has become more powerful. Opponents claimed that the new system was designed to allow then-President Sargsyan to maintain control of the government following the end of his term in April. 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 keep abreast of the sociopolitical climate and avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence.
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