Armenia Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigns amid protests

Armenia Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigns amid protests

On April 17, after Sargsyan, despite the ongoing unrest, had been appointed as Prime Minister of Armenia, the opposition announced the beginning of a "velvet revolution".

Sakistan, a shrewd former military officer, who had served for a decade as president after he was elected in 2008, was again elected last week as prime ministers, which was described by opposition as a move to extend his rule under a new parliamentary system of government. "I am fulfilling your demand", Sarkisian said in a statement on the prime minister's website.

The oppositionists were set free after meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetian at a detention site in the city's southern Erebuni district.

On Sunday, police detained three opposition leaders and almost 200 protesters, drawing a rebuke from the European Union.

Sarkisian had earlier refused to go and on Sunday stormed out of televised talks with Pashinyan, accusing him of "blackmail".

On Monday, men wearing military uniforms could be seen marching in Yerevan with protesters.

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Earlier on Monday pressure on Sargsyan to quit increased sharply when unarmed Armenian soldiers joined the anti-government protests in the capital Yerevan.

Led by opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, various parties and civil groups took to the streets.

"I won't say it later, it's already clear isn't it?"

Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan has declared his is going to resign. "Congratulations, victorious people", Pashinyan posted on Facebook.

"I appeal to all citizens of the Republic of Armenia and to the "Reject Serge" movement". And no-one can seize this victory from you.

Under a revised constitution, the prime minister now holds most power in the tiny southern Caucasus nation, while the presidency has become largely ceremonial.

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Mr Putin's spokesman said on Monday that Moscow was closely watching events in Yerevan. "The situation is different to the one you knew 15-20 days ago", he told Sarkisian.

Asked if Russia would intervene, Mr Peskov said the matter was "exclusively an internal affair" and Russian action would be "absolutely inappropriate". In the wake of the announcement, people in Yerevan, the capital, waved flags and cheered. Every time Armenians have felt they weren't able to change power through elections, they have taken to the streets. "This is a day to live for, this is the day to be here to witness history!" said her husband Armen.

"Sargsyan resigned. That's happened".

Protesters had denounced Sarkisian and called on the 63-year-old to stand down. They feel like they deserve a better life and a more democratic country. Only the leadership has changed.

The statement from the prime minister's office came as a shock - for its frankness as much as its content. Demonstrators and police clash again, and 232 are reported to have been arrested.

Who is Serzh Sargsyan? At least eight people died.

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