Serzh Sargsyan is the new Prime Minister of Armenia

Serzh Sargsyan is the new Prime Minister of Armenia

Several opposition MPs did not take part in the elections as they continued protesting in the streets.

Opposition supporters walk along a street during a rally in central Yerevan on April 16, 2018. Though Monday also saw major roads in the center of the capital being blocked by demonstrators.

Police attempted to prevent demonstrators from reaching the parliament building, local media reported, while the health ministry said 46 people including six police officers required medical assistance after the clashes. The injuries were caused by the special measures that had been taken by the police.

Authorities beefed up police presence and put in place cordons which some protesters broke through.

Meanwhile, the national police issued a written appeal to Pashinian saying that the protests will be forcibly broken up if he continues defy their warnings.

Extra police and a water cannon have been deployed in the city centre, while prosecutors opened a criminal probe over mass riots in the capital.

Today, the 43-year-old Pashninian's track record of civil disobedience has helped attract thousands to gather in Yerevan to protest parliament's move to cement two-term former President Sarkisian's transition to the prime minister's post.

In 2017, Pashinian set up his own party and was elected to parliament as head of the Yelk election bloc.

The ex-president's allies claim that he never explicitly pledged not to become prime minister.

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His calls were answered by several thousand people who flocked to the parliament building.

Some built barricades using cast-iron benches and metal trash cans.

The spokesman for the ruling party, Eduard Sharmazanov, has dismissed the protests as "the opposition's artificial and fake agenda".

"Sarkisian wants to perpetuate his rule", the leader of the opposition Heritage party, Raffi Hovannisyan, told AFP. "Many people believed this because, four years ago when the Constitution was amended, he said that he was not going to rule the country for the third time - and even stressed that, according to his experience, the same person should seek a third term", he explained.

Serzh Sarkisian, a shrewd former military officer, has been in charge of the landlocked South Caucasus nation of 2.9 million since winning a presidential vote in 2008.

However, following a 2015 constitutional referendum the country shifted from a presidential system to a parliamentary republic - relegating the presidency to a more ceremonial role.

Opposition politicians say the shift to a parliamentary republic with a powerful prime minister has been created to increase Sargsyan's grip on power in the impoverished Moscow-allied country.

After Sarkisian was first elected in 2008, 10 people died in bloody clashes between police and supporters of the defeated opposition candidate.

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