Second 'velvet revolution' starts in Yerevan

Second 'velvet revolution' starts in Yerevan

A group of protesters have stormed the city administration building in Yerevan, demanding Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan step down.

The protesters are attempting to enter the mayor’s room, a number of city hall staff members and police officers have blocked the way .

The protesters accuse the mayor of inefficient activity and lack of accountability. Participants of the action are also angry because the trees in a small park near the City Hall have been cut down,  RIA Novosti reported.

Margaryan is a member of the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia, which passed into opposition after the election of the leader of the Yelk faction Nikol Pashinyan as Prime Minister on May 8.

Ex-mayor of Yerevan Vahagn Khachatryan, speaking with the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that street protests will remain a powerful political force in Armenia. "Protest actions have great opportunities now, I think conflicts in the parliament will be solved with their help. It is still not clear how the National Assembly will work if Nikol Pashinyan's team and their allies are in the majority, although they have fewer seats, while the Republican party, which has more seats, declared itself a minority, but it still leads the parliament," he expects.

As for the "revolution" against Margaryan, according to Vahagn Khachatryan, the Yerevan people simply do not want to see the RPA representative at the head of the Armenian capital. "People took to the streets, as they were dissatisfied with the system embodied not only in Serzh Sargsyan, but also in other people. Many people are dissatisfied with the situation in Yerevan in the last ten years, which caused the desire of many Yerevan residents to demand the mayor's resignation, but protests is the only tool they have. Now people, considering the experience of Sargsyan's resignation, decided to solve the Yerevan mayor issue in the same way. The majority of Yerevan citizens do not want to see a person who has close ties to the RPA in power," the former mayor of Yerevan said.

Margaryan's resignation is quite possible. "I do not think that he will be able to work further as a separate element of this system. Last year, the Chamber of Accounts detected large-scale violations in Yerevan, but they did nothing then. Now it will be different, and the resistance of former corrupt officials becomes meaningless. The current heads of communities and cities received their posts not because of elections, but because there were no elections, and the people want to have an opportunity to elect their own local leader, "Vahagn Khachatryan concluded.

The director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, Alexander Makarov, explained new protests with the aspiration of the Nikol Pashinyan team to strengthen its power. "Having received the office of prime minister for its leader Nikol Pashinyan, the protest movement is trying to gain support in other representative institutions as well. Yerevan is the largest center of Armenia. The desire to change the alignment of forces not only at the level of the republic, but also at the level of local governments is the goal, which the protest movement seeks to take control of the capital's substantial resources. It is not yet clear whether the protesters will be able to force Taron Margaryan, the RPA representative, to resign, whether he will do it under pressure of not yet very large protest movement," he noted.

"Now the question is how substantial Pashinyan's resource will be and how this mobilization resource will be used in the near future. The people taking part in demonstrations and rallies certainly have an influence on the political process, but it is not known how often it can be used. This resource is still relevant, although recently, one of Pashinyan's ministers urged protesters and generally political forces not to use this resource in the future," Alexander Makarov pointed out.

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