14 April, 2018 23:32

Demonstrations in Yerevan: Chronicle of April 14

Demonstrators in Yerevan, Armenia continue to protest against former president Serzh Sargsyan’s apparent plans to become the country’s Prime Minister. The rallies are led by head of the Civil Contract Party of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, who is also a Member of Parliament.

On April 13, protesters gathered in the central intersections connecting Yerevan’s “France Square” and remained there throughout the night, closing traffic in the busy city junction.

- On April 14, opposition members had planned to travel to Tsakhkadzor, a resort town 60 kilometers away from the capital of Yerevan, to block and surround the hotel where according to their sources, the Ruling Republican Party (RPA) Council would hold an afternoon session during which they would nominate Sargsyan for the post of the Prime Minister.

- However, the RPA Council session convened unexpectedly early during the morning hours. By the proposal of the first Deputy Chairman of the Republic Party, acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan, the Council unanimously decided to nominate former president Serge Sargsyan as Armenia’s next Prime Minister.

- After his speech at the rally at 2:30 in the afternoon, Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters marched towards the Public Radio of Armenia building, passing through the security, entering the building, breaking down one of the hallway doors, and accessing the studio.

- Pashinyan criticized the Public Radio for its lack of proper coverage of the rallies and demonstrations, and demanded a live broadcast to address the nation. Pashinyan spoke on the phone with the Public Radio Director, former BBC correspondent Mark Grigoryan. The radio, however, declined his request for live broadcast, offering to come and take part in their evening program.

- While Pashinyan and his supporters were in the Public Radio building, the electricity inside the building went out.

- Pashinyan delivered his message from the Public Radio studio, for the other media outlets covering the march, calling on the public to join the rallies at the “France Square” in the evening.

- The demonstrators left the Public Radio building and continued to march through the streets of Yerevan, chanting the slogan "Take a step, reject Serzh."

- Police issued a release, stating that "Pashinyan's actions contained elements of legal offense."

- Unlike previous demonstrations in Armenia, this time there is no heavy police presence at the rallies or during the marches.

- The leaders of the rally have called upon other political parties, namely the Tsarukyan Bloc and the Yelk Alliance, to join the movement. The two opposition parties that make up the Yelk alliance initially refused to join the movement of Nikol Pashinyan, considering it’s goals unrealistic.

- Dashnaktsutyun Party, also known as the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a coalition ally of the ruling Republican party, released a statement in support of Serzh Sargsyan’s nomination as Prime Minister.

What’s Next  

- The demonstrators plan to continue protests at least until April 17, the day the Parliament, where the Republican Party led by Serzh Sargsyan constitutes the majority, will elect the country’s new prime minister.

- Pashinyan has announced that they plan to block the Republican Party’s MPs from entering the National Assembly on April 17 to cast their vote.

Read more:

What you need to know about demonstrations in Yerevan

In Armenia, Movements Are Challenging Serzh Sargsyan’s Prime Ministership

Thousands gather in Yerevan, demanding Sargsyan step down

Protest Against Serzh Sargsyan’s Prime-Ministership  

Serzh Sargsyan: From President to Prime Minister? 

Protest Paralyzes Center of Armenia's Capital

Armenia’s disputed move toward true democracy

In picture: Nikol Pashinyan at the studio of the Public Radio  (Photolure)