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Opposition activists block traffic on Yerevan streets

Traffic jams, caused by the protests, triggered sporadic clashes between drivers and activists

YEREVAN, April 17. /TASS/. Opposition activists started blocking central streets of Armenia’s capital Yerevan on Monday night in a bid to disrupt Tuesday’s parliamentary vote on the country’s new prime minister, a TASS correspondent reported.

"We will not let the vote on the prime minister’s candidacy to take place, we will block all ways leading to the parliament to keep lawmakers out of the building," opposition leader Nikol Pashinian said.

According to the TASS correspondent, traffic at some streets was paralyzed as activists have erected barricades of cars, benches and dumpsters. Protesters have also set up a tent camp at the France Square in Yerevan.

Traffic jams, caused by the protests, triggered sporadic clashes between drivers and activists and at least one mass brawl.

Under the constitutional reform, Armenia is switching over to a parliamentary system of government. Prior to the constitutional reform that followed the 2015 referendum, Armenian presidents were elected by direct and universal suffrage. When all constitutional amendments finally come into force, Armenia will complete its transition to a parliamentary form of government, with the prime minister exercising executive authority and the president performing mainly representative functions and being in charge of control over compliance with the constitution.

On Tuesday, the Armenian parliament will vote on the nation’s new prime minister. The ruling Republican party of Armenia nominated Serzh Sargsyan, who had concluded his 10-year tenure as president of the country on April 9. The opposition is launching protests in order to disrupt the vote.

Earlier on Monday, police had to use force against opposition activists who tried to climb through razor wire barriers and break into the Armenian parliament building.