Dozens injured in Armenia rallies against ex-president

Yelk Party Nikol Pashinyan speaks during a protest organized by'My Step and'#merjirserjin initiatives at Liberty Square in Yerevan on Friday

Demonstrators marched through the centre of the capital Yerevan and blocked streets in opposition to a change of government that will see Sarkisian maintain huge influence under a new parliamentary system of government.

Sarkisian, 63, ended his second and final presidential term last week.

Authorities called on him to end the protests, which they threatened to break up by force. The parliament where Sargsyan's party has majority will be electing the Prime Minister on April 17. Since the morning of April 16 the opposition has been making protests in the center of Yerevan.

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Several hundred people sat or lay down on pavements, blocking roads leading to the parliament building and universities.

The protesters were encouraged to act by Armenian MP Nikol Pashinyan, leader of the opposition Civil Contract party.

Rallies began on Friday with more than four thousand taking part. It was the first presidential election since a 2015 constitutional referendum that was created to shift power in Armenia from the presidency to parliament and, mainly, the prime minister.

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Armen Sarkisian took over as president from Sargsyan on Monday under a new system in which the president's powers will be weaker and the prime minister will dominate.

But Vahram Baghdasaryan, head of the RPA faction at the NA, assured that the next PM's election will take place in the parliament building.

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