YEREVAN—System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian arrived in Armenia Monday and told thousands, mostly young people, gathered at a rally in Yerevan’s Republic Square that the popular movement advanced during the past few weeks has had a positive impact around the world.
Tankian was greeted at Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport and by the leader of the popular movement and prime minister candidate Nikol Pashinyan. The two made their way to Republic Square as crowds cheered the rock star who has been an outspoken advocate for social justice and change in Armenia.
Tankian said that the entire world is looking at them as a positive example as people who for almost a month have been holding protests for change in Armenia, which resulted in the ouster of prime minister Serzh Sarkisian on April 23 and a complete change in the country’s government expected after Tuesday’s parliament vote when Pashinyan is expected to become prime minister.
“I want to thank you, my dear compatriots, for being able to create a homeland worthy of Armenian pride through your peaceful rallies. Now the whole world is looking at you as a positive example. Through your songs, dances, and smile you reached your goal,” said Tankian.
“For years the entire world has known as through Genocide, the earthquake and war, but now, through this movement, you elevated the image of the entire Armenian nation,” said Tankian.
“Just like you, I dreamed of this day for many years and am now proud to be standing alongside you. I bow in front of you. I am here to support you in creating the homeland of our dreams,” added Tankian.
“For years they have been saying, Serj, come to Armenia and hundreds of thousands of people will follow you. My answer was always the same: when the Armenian people are ready to rebel they will not need Serj Tankian or any other person since they will be willing to fight for their own rights—the rights of their families—for everyone,” added Tankian.
The artist concluded by saying that the real work lies ahead and urged the crowd to be vigilant as the next chapter of the movement will pose its challenges.
Pahinyan thanked the crowd in anticipation of Tuesday’s vote, for which he said he has received assurances from all factions that they will not thwart the outcome, as was the case last week when parliament failed to elect a prime minister because the Republican Party of Armenia voted against the people’s candidate.
He also said that there will not be a general strike or boycotting of classes on Tuesday, “because I am announcing tomorrow to be a holiday.”
Armenia’s National Assembly is scheduled to vote at noon on Tuesday to elect a new prime minister. Pashinyan is the only candidate on the ballot supported by one-third of lawmakers.