Friday, 19 July

Yerevan: Police in Riot Gear, Armored Personnel Carriers, Block Access to Parliament

Armenia’s National Assembly is scheduled to elect the country’s prime minister today at noon.

The only candidate for the post is ex-Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, nominated by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia and the ARF.

Those opposing Sargsyan’s nomination have gathered at the foot of Baghramyan Avenue. Their access to the National Assembly has been cut off by razor wire, armored personnel carriers and scores of police in riot gear.

For those who haven’t followed events in Yerevan of late, today is the fifth straight day of rallies and marches voicing opposition to Sargsyan’s likely election as prime minister.

Yesterday, the first Day of Civil Disobedience as described by anti-Serzh movement leader Nikol Pashinyan, saw thousands of activists and citizens out in the streets, bringing life in downtown Yerevan to a halt.

Scores of civilians were injured yesterday when police used concussion grenades in an attempt to disperse protesters on Baghramyan Avenue. A few police officers were injured by the grenades as well. Pashinyan suffered wounds to his hand. He was treated at a local hospital and returned to Baghramyan, his hand wrapped in gauze.

Today, the police issued a warning that it was ready to employ all necessary measures to restore public order in Yerevan.

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