As of Wednesday morning (local time), May 2, tens of thousands of protesters in the capital Yerevan have blocked main roads, including the route to Zvartnots International Airport (EVN), following opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan's call for protests, civil disobedience, and a general strike. Nearly all roads in the city center are reportedly affected by the blockades, with many stores closed. Severe traffic and transportation disruptions are expected in the capital, and are possible nationwide.
Police have reportedly attempted to persuade demonstrators to lift the road blocks, but have not used force. However, clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
On Tuesday, May 1, Pashinyan failed to win his bid to become the country's next prime minister, with Parliament voting against the opposition leader 55 to 45. Pashinyan proceded to call for a nationwide general strike on Wednesday, May 2, as well as peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience.
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 monitor developments to the situation, confirm transportation reservations, allow for extra time to reach their destinations, and avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence.
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