Protests in Armenia are well into their second week, with tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for sweeping changes to the political system. The peaceful protests follow parliament’s appointment of former Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to the role of prime minister. The move allows Sargsyan to retain ruling powers thanks to constitutional amendments that saw Armenia shift to a parliamentary republic in 2015 – a move that was initiated by Sargsyan himself.
Hromadske spoke with Grigor Yeritsyan, the executive director of the NGO Armenian Progressive Youth and Nvard Margaryan, the president of the Public Information Need of Knowledge organization to understand the developing situation in the country.
“The Armenians are tired of this regime,” says Grigor Yeritsyan, the executive director of the NGO Armenian Progressive Youth. “The last statistics show that 94% of people are fed up with the regime… There is unrest all over the country, villages, cities are joining as well, so I would say this is a very representative protest.”
The protesters’ four key demands are: the dismissal of prime minister Serzh Sargsyan, an appointment of a new "people's" PM in his place, a formation of a new, interim government and snap elections.
“This is not a protest against Serzh Sargsyan only, this is a protest against the entire system that he has been creating and maintaining for the last 10 years,” Yeritsyan adds.
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While Nvard Margaryan, the president of the Public Information Need of Knowledge organization, highlighted the huge demand for the international support in this uneasy situation.
“I really would like to urge international human rights organizations to keep their eye on what’s going on and ensure they go to negotiations with the law enforcement agencies,” she said.
Hromadske journalist Ostap Yarysh is in Armenia right now. Watch his earlier report on the events.
READ MORE: Protests Against Armenia’s New PM Escalate