Armenian PM resigns; here’s what led to the surprise move
EREVAN, Armenia – Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned Monday, giving in to protesters who claimed he was trying to rule for life. As a president nearing his term limit, Sargsyan shifted the country to a system in which the prime minister is more powerful than the president, and a week ago he took the new top job. Here’s how the crisis unfolded:
—April 9: President Armen Sarkisian is sworn in as Armenia prepares to transition to a system where the president has far less power. Acting Prime Minister Karen Karapetian announces Sargsyan will succeed him.
—April 13: Thousands of demonstrators crowd France Square in the capital of Yerevan to protest the change of government, vowing to remain around the clock.
—April 14: Protesters led by opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinian break into the headquarters of Armenia’s public radio, but fail to get on air and retreat.
—April 16: Thousands of protesters begin to march toward parliament, and police use tear gas and stun grenades to hold them back. Health officials say 46 people are injured, including six police officers and protest leader Pashinian.
—April 17: Lawmakers confirm Sargsyan as prime minister and he moves into the job. About 40,000 people demonstrate in Yerevan and Pashinian declares a “velvet revolution.”
—April 18: Smaller protests spread to a few other Armenian cities.
—April 20: About 40,000 people demonstrate in Yerevan, blocking the defense minister’s car before police forcefully clear the way.
—April 21: Some 50,000 demonstrators block streets in Yerevan, as authorities announce more than 70 people have been arrested. New President Sarkisian comes to the square to speak privately with Pashinian.
—April 22: Pashinian meets with Sargsyan for brief televised talks, but the prime minister walks out after Pashinian says he will only discuss Sargsyan’s resignation. Pashinian is arrested later in the day. Demonstrators and police clash again, and 232 are reported to have been arrested.