Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   19 December

Nikol Pashinyan calls on protesters to stop blockading streets and gather at Republican Square

YEREVAN, APRIL 20, ARMENPRESS. Opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan calls on participants of the rallies to stop the blockade of the streets and head to the Republican Square, ARMENPRESS reports the call is posted on his Facebook page.

The rallies are led by Opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan, who has called on his supporters to launch civil disobedience.

The rallies began with a sit-in at France Square in downtown Yerevan, followed by sporadic marches in the city streets. The protesters even began blocking intersections and shutting down traffic. The situation escalated when the protesters and MP Pashinyan himself breached into the headquarters of Public Radio of Armenia, demanding airtime on April 14.

Then on April 16, protesters and riot police clashed in a brief incident on Baghramyan Avenue – one of the main city streets housing the parliament, Constitutional Court and the Prime Minister’s residence.  The Yerevan Police Department (YPD) has called on the opposition crowd to refrain from illegal actions and to maintain public order.Over 40 people were injured that day, including opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, who returned to his supporters after shortly being hospitalized.

YPD said they are entitled to detain protesters who are violating public order and to cease the illegal rally, because the demonstrations are violating the rights of others and endangering public safety.

The protesters largely ignored the YPD demands and continued the rally, initiating sit-ins outside governmental buildings, blocking traffic, obstructing public service staff from entering their offices, even deflating tires of official vehicles parked outside ministries.

The number of detainees has reached 217 on April 20.

English –translator/editor: Tigran Sirekanyan

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