On April 17, the National Assembly elections of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia started. Serzh Sargsyan became the prime minister. 77 National Assembly deputies voted for, 15 voted against.
At about 12:10, during the rally in the French Square, Nikol Pashinyan announced that he is now starting a velvet revolution and they must block public institutions. During the rally, the crowd of protesters stretched from the French Square to Amiryan Street.
Read more at Protests Against Serzh Sargsyan.
Read the brief article Armenian “Velvet” Revolution.
THE VELVET REVOLUTION OF ARMENIA
Thousands of demonstrators marched From the French Square to the Republic Square. They began to block the building of the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Court of Cassation. After that, they blocked the building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Serge Sargsyan’s brother, Levon Sargsyan was blocked there.
As of 13:10, the crowd of demonstrators stretched from the beginning of Abovyan street to the Yerevan City Hall building. Many Armenians had also invaded the Armenian Embassy in Moscow and declared a sit-in.
Nikol Pashinyan also blocked the building of the Central Bank of Armenia together with the demonstrators. They blocked the Victory bridge and the Investigative Department as well.
As of 14:15, the protestors had already blocked a number of streets and roads in different regions of Armenia.
According to Freedom Radio Station information, Arakel Movsisyan had created bandit groups for attacking the demonstrators. He, in additionl is from Republican Party of Armenia, is the former deputy of the RA National Assembly.
On April 17, in the evening, the rally of the forces fighting against the premiership of Serzh Sargsyan, elected by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, began with thousands of people present in the Republic Square.
Nikol Pashinyan, while speaking during the rally, announced that they will continue their protests. He called on to block all possible streets in Yerevan on April 18 at 10:00 am. As well as addressing representatives of the Armenian Diaspora, including Serj Tankian, Arsine Khanjyan, Charles Aznavour to come to Armenia and join the people.
U.S. Department of State
We have noticed that a large number of protest rallies are taking place in Yerevan and other Armenian cities. Thousands of Armenian citizens came out to the streets to actualize their right to expression freedom and implementing rallies. We closely follow the protest rallies in the center of Yerevan and other cities in Armenia. We are encouraged by the respectful and responsible behavior of most of the protesters and police during these last few days. However, we are concerned about the clashes between the police and the demonstrators, during which there were victims. We call on all sides to be restrained and avoid any tension or violent action.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch international human rights organization closely monitors political demonstrations and protests in Armenia. Unfortunately, Armenia has a history of hindering free rallies and peaceful protests and also use of disproportionate force against demonstrators, which has been repeated this time as well.
That is why we are following the inner political developments in Armenia with great care and we urge the Armenian authorities not to hinder the free demonstrations of peaceful protestors.
This morning, Human Rights Watch issued a statement reminding the RA authorities of the past of the use of excessive force by law enforcement officials during demonstrations.
We possess all the details of domestic political developments in Armenia and call on the Armenian authorities to respect their internationally accepted commitments. We have already recorded that yesterday the police had thrown light grenades towards the protesters. Law enforcement officials should refrain from the use of such grenades. Even though they have non-lethal effects, they can cause serious damage and have serious consequences for human health.
The right to implement free rallies in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the law is a universal and fundamental right of all.
The European Union expects the Armenian authorities to fully respect this right and to apply the law in a fair and proportionate manner, in accordance with Armenia’s international obligations, including particularly the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms convention. All those who have been detained while realizing their fundamental right of implementing rallies in accordance with the law must be released immediately.
It is disappointing and worrying that today’s short meeting between PM Serzh Sargsyan and deputy Nikol Pashinyan did not prevent further escalations.
On April 19, the first session of the newly elected government under the leadership of Serzh Sargsyan started in the RA Government building. In the course of the session, demonstrators held a rally in front of the government building, and cars passing through the square beeped as a sign against Sargsyan’s premiership. During the session, Serzh Sargsyan asked the government to take the presidential mansion back.
Statements by authorities and religious leaders
On April 20, Cilicia Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church Aram I arrived in Yerevan. Together with Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II, he met the newly elected Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. During the meeting, Garegin II and Aram I congratulated Serzh Sargsyan on his election as Prime Minister wishing him strength, efficacy, patience, and endurance.
Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II said:
We pray for this situation to gradually calm down and for the people to be guided by the commitment of our homeland building, the security of our country. We, sure, have difficulties in our lives, but there are also many challenges and we can face these challenges only with the national unity and solidarity.
There is also April 24 ahead, the Day of Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide. And the sacrament of that day should be in the minds and perceptions of every Armenian and lead them to live upright and lead our way forward so that we can spare our country from tragedies and losses.
We have Artsakh, we have young Armenians serving on the borders of our homeland, whose security, we know, is your constant concern Mr. Prime Minister. We know your thoughts in this regard. May God keep us, keep our people in love, in peace. This is our wish, this is our prayer.
Catholicos of All Armenians Aram I said:
The creation of an atmosphere of tension and uncertainty in aggressive expressions during these days involving youth and teenagers in the country, hurt both our people and our country’s perception of the outside world. After all, the consequences of these rallies or the overcoming of the damages will last for months. That is, the country can be damaged.
We have to tell the demonstrators that this is the homeland of all of us, all of us are the children of this homeland, we are a family. There will be difficulties and problems, but you have to sit down and with mutual understanding discuss the questions around the table, not on the street.
With this effort to examine the issues, it is necessary to seek ways to solve them together. This is what it should be. Continuing in this manner, in such a way, is harmful to the homeland, it hurts our people.
Consequently, I am glad that you, too, Mr. Prime Minister, have called for the forces to come side by side, sit, and speak around the table. This conversation under the leadership of the President and you should happen, because the continuation of this situation will greatly harm our homeland, our people, especially Artsakh.
It’s time to come together because we are besieged by non-friendly forces. There are, of course, questions, but we should talk about these issues within the limits of mutual love and respect. This is what we wanted to convey to you, Mr. Prime Minister.
Member of the Republican Party of Armenia, deputy of the National Assembly of Armenia Karine Achemyan stated in a conversation with the journalist that the protesters are not the whole nation yet and it is shameful to do so because the tourists will have a bad impression. She also touched upon corruption, saying corruption exists in all countries.
Other than that, on April 20, members of the Armenian Chess Team, including Levon Aronyan, Smbat Lputyan, Vladimir Akopian, Artashes Minasyan. Gabriel Sargsyan, Tigran L. Petrosyan, Rafael Vahanyan, head coach of the team Arshak Petrosyan congratulated Serzh Sargsyan on his election as Prime Minister and publicly expressed their support.
Evening rally in Republic Square (April 20)
At 6:40 pm, the rally started at the Republic Square. According to the media, this rally was the largest in the series of actions against Serzh Sargsyan’s premiership. A number of citizens and public figures made speeches. The demonstrators regularly chanted, “Take your step, Deny Serzh”, “Put your weapons, Deny Serzh”, “Armenia”, “Unity”.
The speakers talked about the number of detainees (more than 200 citizens). As well as the legality of actions in the police department, violence against the citizens protesting in the Echmiadzin region and elsewhere. Also, about the protest actions in and around the Armenian diaspora. The names of the well-known people who have touched upon the inner-political events in the country were also listed.
At 9 pm, the final speech of the rally began with Nikol Pashinyan. In his speech, Nikol Pashinyan said that they are ready to negotiate with the authorities only on one topic – the capitulation of Serzh Sargsyan and the Republican Party of Armenia.
In his speech, he also touched upon their future plans:
I want to present the vision of the future.
- S. Sargsyan resigns from PM’s post
- National Assembly chooses PM from the candidates of chosen by the nation
- Formation of a temporary government
- When a temporary government is formed, the National Assembly does not adopt the government’s plan. After which the law requires extraordinary parliamentary elections.
Here are the points of this program we are ready to discuss with the Republican Party as a smooth transfer of power to the people of Armenia.
These elections will not leave any doubt, they should be 100 percent fair. There should be free elections and winners should always be the people. Now and after this, only the people of Armenia should win the elections. And the next day after the election the Armenian citizen should say, “I formed the government, I chose, I am the government of fair Armenia. “
Nikol Pashinyan’s urgent call
On April 21, at 23:40, Nikol Pashinyan urgently made a live announcement. He announced that he will meet with Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan on April 22 to discuss the latter’s resignation at Marriott Hotel.
Pashinyan and Sargsyan Meeting
In the morning of April 22, 2018, a public meeting between Serzh Sargsyan and Nikol Pashinyan took place. at the Marriott Hotel in Yerevan.
During the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan announced that the party, which received 7-8% of votes, has no right to speak on behalf of the people. He called for a legal framework. Nikol Pashinyan stated that Serzh Sargsyan does not possess the situation in the country. Also, that they will negotiate only on peaceful and passive transfer of the authority.
Then Serzh Sargsyan announced that he would no longer continue the meeting in such a format and that those against him did not take lessons from the events of March 1. After 5 minutes of the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan left the meeting hall.
Then, Nikol Pashinyan stated in an interview with reporters that they would continue their protest actions at a new pace.
After the failed negotiations, in the run-up to the march launched from the Republic Square in Yerevan, the RA police units used special sound equipment at the end of the Artsakh street. They arrested a number of protest rallies, including Nikol Pashinyan.
After the clashes in Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor and other towns and villages, protest actions were resumed. Hundreds of citizens were taken to police stations in Armenia. Protesting Citizens in various settlements carried out thousands of marches, blocked cities, and roads throughout the day. In the afternoon hundreds of rows of cars arrived in Yerevan from the regions of Armenia. Thousands of rallies in Yerevan and other major cities in the evening took place. More than 160,000 citizens participated in the rally of Yerevan’s Republic Square.
The Events of April 23
At 11:00, ministers made statements in the format of the press conference. RA Minister of Defense Vigen Sargsyan, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Justice Davit Harutyunyan also made press conferences. At 13:00, Armenian President Armen Sargsyan made a speech.
In the morning of April 23, protest actions also began in the city of Etchmiadzin. Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of the city calling on people to join them.
A series of breathtaking videos!