Serzh Sargsyan: I am ready to pursue the responsibility

Serzh Sargsyan: I am ready to pursue the responsibility

According to several local media reports, riot police used batons and stun grenades against the crowd when demonstrators tried to break the police cordon blocking the way to the parliament building.

Parliament elected Sargsyan prime minister today, a move that was widely expected despite the outgoing president's denials he would seek to remain in power.

Several thousand people blocked traffic Monday morning and camped on the streets.

Sarkisian, 63, ended his second and final presidential term last week. Opposition activists claimed constitutional changes implemented during Sarkisian's presidency were created to allow him to maintain power in the strengthened role of prime minister, the outlet said. Yet the country's inherently volatile politics and strategic position make any reprieve fragile at best, as evidenced by the growing protests against Sargsyan's nomination as prime minister in the capital, Yerevan.*.

"I am declaring a start of a peaceful, velvet revolution in Armenia", opposition MP Nikol Pashinian told protesters in central Yerevan, many of whom were young people with no affiliation to a political party.

Anti-government protesters in Armenia have been urged to continue their fight.

Six of them are police officers, the Armenian Health Ministry press service said. The police said the opposition's actions were illegal but so far refrained from using force.

"We must not allow Armenia's transformation into an autocratic country where the same man remains in power for an indefinite time", 23-year-old student Karen Mirzoyan, told AFP at the rally.

A shrewd former military officer, Sarkisian has been in charge of the landlocked South Caucasus nation of 2.9 million since winning a presidential vote in 2008. The rallies began on Friday when more than 4,000 people took part.

His powers were terminated on 9 April after the election of the fourth President of Armenia Armen Sargsian, who became the first head of state elected by Parliament after the country's transition in 2015 to a parliamentary form of government.

Two opposition lawmakers set off smoke flares in parliament last week to protest Sarkisian's election as prime minister.

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