UARU
Protests In Yerevan: The Face Of Change
20 April, 2018

In the morning, protesters blocked all entrances to government buildings, including the building on Republic Square in the center of Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018. Photo credit: Ostap Yarysh/ Hromadske.

Students, pensioners, hipsters, tax collectors, community activists – the protests in Armenia have united diverse groups of people, all of them with a fierce desire for political change.

Armenian security forces block government buildings to protestors, Yerevan, Armenia,  April 19, 2018 Photo credit: Oleksandr Kokhan/Hromadske

Clashes between protesters and the police in Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018  Photo credit: Ostap Yarysh/Hromadske

Tens of thousands of people across Armenia have been taking part in anti-government protests since last week, demanding the resignation of former President and newly appointed Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan. Their slogan: "Take a step against Serzh!"

Protesters move through the streets of Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018. On April 17, parliament elected former President of Armenia as Prime Minister despite mass protests  Photo: Oleksandr Kokhan/Hromadske

Clashes between protesters and the police in Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018. Number of people detained by police on the day increased to 122 people. Photo: Ostap Yarysh/Hromadske

At present, it is estimated some 100 demonstrators have been arrested by the police.

Some brings signs and national flags, others bring the plush toy Cheburashka (the nickname given to Sergey Sargsyan by his opponents).

In the evening, participants take part in a peaceful rally on the main square of Yerevan near the government building, Armenia, April 19, 2018  Photo: Oleksandr Kokhan/Hromadske

A national referendum in 2015 led the country to change its form of government and transfer ruling powers from the President to the Prime Minister. Sargsyan’s second presidential term finished this year and many see his move into the position as Prime Minister as a way of holding on to power.

In the evening, participants take part in a peaceful rally on the main square of Yerevan near the government building, Armenia, April 19, 2018  Photo: Oleksandr Kokhan/Hromadske

Clashes between protesters and the police in Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018. Number of people detained by police on the day increased to 122 people. Photo: Ostap Yarysh/Hromadske

Clashes between protesters and the police in Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018. Number of people detained by police on the day increased to 122 people. Photo: Ostap Yarysh/Hromadske

Clashes between protesters and the police in Yerevan, Armenia, April 19, 2018. Number of people detained by police on the day increased to 122 people. Photo: Ostap Yarysh/Hromadske

As part of the massive demonstrations sweeping Yerevan, people have started blocking roads in the morning and then going to the main auditorium in the heart of the capital, on the square of the Republic, in the evening. Despite the brutal actions of the police, utter disregard of their demands from the government and rainy weather, more and more people are joining the demonstrations by the day.

In the evening, participants take part in a peaceful rally on the main square of Yerevan near the government building, Armenia, April 19, 2018  Photo: Oleksandr Kokhan/Hromadske

In the evening, participants take part in a peaceful rally on the main square of Yerevan near the government building, Armenia, April 19, 2018  Photo: Oleksandr Kokhan/Hromadske

The driving force behind these protests is the youth. Unlike during protests of previous years in Armenia, young people make up the majority of the demonstrators now. Educational institutions have even been closed in the city of Gyumri so that students wouldn’t be pushed into taking part in the protests.

Produced with the support of Russian-Language News Exchange

/By Ostap Yarysh and Oleksandr Kokhan