Armenia is currently locked in a fierce political crisis as the days of continued protests have caused the ruling party to become weak considerably. The protestors have blocked roads all over Armenia after a call from the opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan for general civil disobedience to pressurise the ruling party to make him the Prime Minister.
All the streets in the capital Yerevan were blocked by cars, minibuses, etc. with slogans of “Nikol! Victory!” filling the air. Police did not resort to using force to disperse the crowds to clear the roads but kept on persuasion. However, by evening the road blockades were lifted as Pashinyan had asked his supporters to continue their action till dusk.
The major part of the day saw all roads leading to capital being blocked even the one leading to the international airport. Protests were reported in other parts of the country as well. All railway tracks were blocked by the protestors and the national railway operator had to suspend the suburban passenger services. The recent face-off between the opposition and the government which has mobilised thousands of people against the latter is directed against the increased control of the government over parliament and the security apparatus. It also is reportedly backed by Russia.
The ceremonial President Armen Sarkissian has stated that it is regretted the political unrest continues despite the known knowledge that it is highly dangerous for the nation. Sarkissian is kept in power despite the expiry of his second term under special provisions designed by the ruling party. Sarkissian tried to switch his office and take over as the Prime Minister after his second term expired and he could not legally stand for the third time. However, later led to widespread protests and he had to step down after a week. The vacuum at the centre had put Pashinyan as the sole nominee for the post of the PM but the Republican Party did not support him after hours of discussion.
Although Pashinyan enjoys majority support from the people yet there are voices in the country which consider him as a demagogue who is trying to disrupt and dismantle the democratic political government in the country. The next attempt to elect a new PM is on May 8 failing which the country will have to undergo early elections.
Armenia enjoys a highly strategic location being nestled between Turkey and Azerbaijan which is a big exporter of energy. However, it has always been in conflict with Azerbaijan ever since it emerged after the collapse of Soviet Union.