5 May, 2018 22:30

Armenia’s Velvet Revolution: A Timeline of Key Events

March 31

Nikol Pashinyan starts his two-week walking journey with the slogan “My Step” with the objective to protest ex-President Serzh Sargsyan's nomination and potential confirmation as Prime Minister of Armenia.

April 13

Pashinyan reaches Yerevan. The rally begins in Freedom Square and moves to “France Square”, where the protesters block the main intersection for four days thus calling attention to the movement.

April 16

Pashinyan calls on protesters to begin acts of civil disobedience in Yerevan. Streets, bridges, major intersections and the metro are shut down by demonstrators.  The call of the protesters is for ex-President Serzh Sargsyan not to be nominated as prime minister.

In the National Assembly, the Republican Party and the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun nominate Serzh Sargsyan for the post of prime minister.

April 17

Serzh Sargsyan is elected prime minister inside a National Assembly building encircled by barbed wire and demonstrators.

That evening, Pashinyan announces the beginning of the non-violent “Velvet Revolution”. Mass demonstrations, rallies, street closures paralyze the capital of Yerevan for days.

April 21

President Armen Sarkissian accepts Pashinyan’s invitation and comes to meet with the movement leader in Yerevan’s Republic Square.

Pashinyan agrees to meet with Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to discuss the protesters’ demands.

April 22

At 10am, Serzh Sargsyan and Nikol Pashinyan meet at the Marriott Hotel in the presence of the media. Sargsyan approached it as negotiations to end the protests. Pashinyan repeated that he is there to discuss the terms of Sargsyan's resignation. The meeting ends shortly thereafter.

Immediately following the meeting with Sargsyan, Pashinyan is detained. The other two deputies who had been visible and vocal as the movement’s leaders -- Ararat Mirzoyan and Sasun Mikaelyan -- are also taken into custody.

April 23

Pashinyan and his colleagues are released.

Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigns the same day.

Election of a new prime minister by the National Assembly is set for May 1, within the 7 days prescribed by the Constitution.

Nearly 150,000 gather for a victory rally in Yerevan’s Republic Square and in other cities around the country.

Pashinyan relays the negotiation process to the people, mentioning that while in prison, he was visited by Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.

April 24

Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan calls off the previously announced negotiations with Pashinyan.

Pashinyan declares that the country’s next prime minister will not be from the ruling Republican Party. “The revolution has one more step to take.”

The protesters observe April 24 quietly, in a mass march towards the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial.

April 25

The ARF-Dashnaktsutyun leaves the coalition with the ruling Republican Party.

Mass demonstrations, rallies, street closures continue in Yerevan.

April 27

The public rallies move from Yerevan to Gyumri, where thousands cheered on the protest movement and its leaders. Observers called this the biggest rally Gyumri had ever seen. 

April 28

Rallies take place in Ijevan, Nikol's birthplace, and Vanadzor, Armenia's third largest city.

Following a Republican Party session with Serzh Sargsyan, who remains the head of the Republican Party, and Karen Karapetyan, the Party announced that it will not nominate a candidate for prime minister.

Gagik Tsarukyan, leader of the Prosperous Armenia Party, announces that the Tsarukyan Alliance will support Pashinyan's candidacy for Prime Minister during the May 1 vote.

April 30

In a televised session of the National Assembly, Pashinyan is grilled on his policies. 

May 1

At a Special Session of the National Assembly that lasted over 8 hours, with more questioning, Pashinyan does not receive the necessary Republican votes to become prime minister. 

Next election is scheduled for May 8.

Immediately following the vote, Pashinyan declares May 2 a day of civil disobedience.  

May 2

Street and metro closures paralyze Yerevan and towns across Armenia. The highway leading to and coming from Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport is also closed.

In the afternoon, Pashinyan announces that members of all parties other than the Republican Party have pledged their votes to him.

Deputies from the Republican Party say that the Faction will not nominate a candidate and will back the people’s candidate, overtly avoiding mentioning Pashinyan by name. 

At the evening rally, Pashinyan announces that on May 3 all acts of civil disobedience, including rallies and road closures, should cease.

If second round of voting fails on May 8 and no candidate receives minimum of 53 votes, parliament will be dissolved, resulting in snap parliamentary elections, under existing electoral law.

Acts of civil disobedience throughout Armenia increased dramatically.

All the roads were blocked thus paralyzing the roads throughout the country

In the evening of the same day, the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) announced that it will support Nikol Pashinyan's candidacy for the position of prime minister of Armenia.

May 8

On May 8 at the special session of the National Assembly of Armenia, RPA stated that its stance had not changed, and they still did not support Nikol Pashinyan and the movement, but they would secure the necessary votes for Pashinyan's election.

Nikol Pashinyan was elected prime minister and then went to Republic Square to meet the tens of thousands of supporters waiting for him.