Police, protesters clash in Armenia as leader stays in power

Yerevan “Reject Serzh” Activists Block Mashtots Avenue

Moments after a deputy chief of Yerevan's police department, Valeri Osipian, warned Pashinian against "provocative", actions the crowd pushed through the first lines of riot police. The protesters also disrupted metro operations and stormed university campuses.

Six of them are police officers, the Armenian Health Ministry press service said. Sargsyan who is ruling the country since 2018 is the only candidate to the post of the Prime Minister.

Opposition demonstrators blockaded government buildings in Armenia's capital Tuesday as parliament was set to confirm the pro-Moscow former president as the real power in the country.

It remains unclear what effect the protests will have on Sargsyan's rule, but they have already grown far larger than most observers expected, creating one of the biggest crises in his ten years in power.

Supporters of "My Step" initiative led by MP Nikol Pashinyan blocked the entrance to the Yerevan municipality.

Pashinyan has called for the "complete paralyzation of the government apparatus". He did not say how many activists are in the police.

And in 2016, Pashinian stepped in to mediate between police and a little-known armed opposition group that was holding hostages after carrying out a deadly raid on a police station.

Vahram Baghdasaryan, head of the RPA faction at the National Assembly (NA), assured that the next PM's election will take place in the parliament building. He later said his injuries came from cutting his hands on barbed wire and a stun grenade explosion, and not from police batons. Pashinyan returned to the protesters after having treatment in hospital: he had been wounded in clashes at the Baghramyan Avenue. A police officer underwent a surgery, as his vein was cut.

An RFE/RL correspondent saw two protesters injured as a result. He proposed to block the central streets at night, and also to begin blocking streets and roads in the regions of the country.