Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   17 January

PM Pashinyan calls on various demonstrators to cease street-blocking, civil disobedience

YEREVAN, MAY 17, ARMENPRESS. Armenian Prime Minister has urged on demonstrators to cease all civil disobedience actions from 15:00.

Speaking live on Facebook, the Prime Minister said that daily street-blocking actions and civil disobedience campaigns are not understandable. “Whom are we declaring civil disobedience to? Ourselves? I think this isn’t a right approach,” the PM said.

He said that these days the government is receiving an enormous amount of letters daily, equivalent to the previous monthly mail volume.

“This means that the government must have the opportunity to arrange these issues in terms of priority and deal with them one by one,” he said, urging citizens to let the government implement this work.

Pashinyan called on demonstrators to clearly formulate problems in the given community nationwide instead of the street blocking actions. He told the protesters to note their demands and send delegations consisting of 2 or 3 people in two directions – the ministry of territorial administration and the admission department of the government, or to call the governmental hotline at 1-17.

“We will arrange the issues in accordance to priorities and we will deal these issues one by one, we will hold public discussions wherever necessary,” he said.

Various unrelated pocket demonstrations have been taking place in different parts of Yerevan and in other cities in Armenia. A most recent demonstrations involved factory workers demanding higher wages and cab drivers protesting against traffic violation penalties, parking spaces and others.

Workers of the Ararat Cement Factory in Armenia’s Ararat Province are protesting outside the factory demanding higher salaries. Workers have blocked the factory’s entrance with cargo trucks.

The employees are demanding higher wages and a meeting with MP Gagik Tsarukyan, president of the Prosperous Armenia party. The factory is owned by the family of the MP.

It is noteworthy that yesterday numerous unrelated demonstrations took place in Yerevan.

Protesters were demanding to meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

A group of desk job officers of military commissariats protesting against governmental optimization of the agencies – which will result in significant job cuts – were rallying outside the PM’s office.  But protesters also include car importers and cab drivers.

Defense minister Davit Tonoyan has been briefed on the military commissariat issue. The minister tasked to solve the issue of further employment of those who will be affected by the cuts.

The protesters were first rallying outside the government headquarters in Republic Square, where they were told to address the defense ministry. However, since the defense minister did not grant an audience to the demonstrators, they arrived outside the PM’s office.

The cab drivers and car importers on the other hand, began their demonstrations from the Brazil Square. Cab drivers were complaining from the paid parking spots, fines, while importers were protesting customs clearance conditions.

It is noteworthy that employees of the presently defunct Nairit plant were also protesting outside the PM’s residence. Some of the demonstrators were invited in for talks.

To make the picture even more complete, another protest was underway outside the Yerevan City Hall. The demonstration seemed to be related to environmental issues but quickly escalated into an anti-Mayor protest. Protesters blocked the nearby street.

Another demonstration involved supporters of the jailed 2016 Yerevan hostage crisis gunmen over their trial proceedings.

Earlier in April, the country – and particularly the city of Yerevan – saw massive anti-governmental protests which eventually forced PM Serzh Sargsyan to resign.  Opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the movement, was elected Prime Minister later on May 8.

ENGLISH: Editor/Translator - Stepan Kocharyan

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