YEREVAN—Tens of thousands took to the streets of Yerevan and elsewhere in Armenia Wednesday to continue the demands for complete regime change in Armenia after acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan on Wednesday abruptly canceled a meeting with protest leader Nikol Pashinyan saying the latter had imposed terms to the agenda, which were not originally agreed upon.
This led to a day of extraordinary events that included the Armenian Revolutionary Federation pulling out of its coalition agreement with the Republican Party of Armenia and the Prosperous Armenia party, led by businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, to call on its members and coalition partners to join the protests against the ruling regime.
The street protests had stopped Monday, after a crowd estimated to number upwards of 120,000, jubilantly celebrated the resignation of Serzh Sarkisian as prime minister, which was announced on Monday afternoon after he walked out of a meeting with Pashinyan on Sunday morning. Shortly after the failed meeting, during which Sarkisian warned the opposition leader invoking the March 1, 2008 events, during which 10 people died during opposition protests against his election as president. Less than an hour after the Sunday meeting, Pashinyan and two other members of parliament from his Yelk alliance were arrested, which prompted a surge in participation in the protests.
On Wednesday protests were held in Gyumri, Vanadzor as well as other regions in Armenia.
On Wednesday, Pashinyan addressed a rally at Republic Square telling his supporters that it would be unacceptable if the Republican Party of Armena, which still holds a majority in parliament, were to come to power again, saying that meetings he and his representatives had held throughout the day focused on the need for “the people’s candidate” to assume the helm of the government.
Pashinyan also pointed out that those in power were mistaken if they thought that by Sarkisian resignation the people’s protest would end, saying that the participants of the “people’s revolution” demanded
Snap parliamentary elections were on the minds of every faction on Wednesday. In the statement announcing its departure from the governing coalition, the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia called for early parliamentary elections as one of its proposed solutions in the wake of the new realities and challenges facing the nation.
Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian also focused on snap elections during his day-long consultations with parliamentary and extra-parliamentary forces. According to his press office, all the participants shared the opinion that the issues should be solved within the confines of the Constitution, including snap parliamentary elections, “and in case of necessity there will be amendments in the Electoral Code.”
In an announcement prior to his meetings, Sarkissian said, “the civil movement, which involves mostly the youth, opens new opportunities in the direction of recuperation of Armenia’s political life and deepening of democracy. It will elevate the reputation of Armenia and the Armenian people in the world, if we will be able to find correct and measured solutions.”
He expressed disappointment in the breakdown of talks between Pashinyan and Karapetyan and pointed out that Armenia was facing a great challenge, which, he said, should be confronted within the boundaries set by the Constitution.