Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan resigns after two weeks of mass protests

Armenian Leader, Facing Mass Protests, Resigns

Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told TASS before Sargsyan's resignation that the protests were Armenia's "internal affair".

MOSCOW-Armenia's unpopular prime minister stepped down Monday after more than a week of growing demonstrations, capitulating to protestors in a country firmly allied with former Soviet master Moscow.

"I appeal to all citizens of the Republic of Armenia and to the "Reject Serge" movement".

Nikol Pashinyan was right. In this situation, there are several solutions, but I will not resort to any of them. "I'm leaving the post of the country's leader, the Prime Minister". The street movement was against me. "I am fulfilling your demand", he said in a statement quoted by the BBC.

Opposition supporters staged more protests in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Monday, a day after protest leader and lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan was detained by authorities.

He said he was bowing to protesters' demands and wanted his country to remain peaceful.

Young men in small groups briefly blocked roads and shouted slogans such as "Join us!" and "Victory" and Pashinyan's name as drivers beeped their horns in support.

Before being appointed prime minister, Sarksyan, 63, did a 10-year stint as president.

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Mr Sargsyan stressed that he and all the countrymen expect that no need for a state of emergency will ever arise in Armenia. "Congratulations, victorious people", Pashinyan posted on Facebook.

At the same time, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics drew attention to the possibility of Armenia's shift to the West if the protesters succeed.

Later that morning Pashinyan was grabbed by security forces at the latest protest rally in Yerevan and detained for over 24 hours before being released on Monday, hours before the prime minister's resignation.

"This was the rare aberration - the rare exception of a peaceful non-violent degree of people power actually achieving its goals", Giragosian said.

"The enemy is looking at events in our country". Demonstrators and police clash again, and 232 are reported to have been arrested.

Before the Prime Minister resigned on Monday an estimated 50 unarmed soldiers from a unit stationed in the capital Yerevan were filmed joining the civilian crows.

Mr Sargsyan served two consecutive terms as president of Armenia, starting in 2008 and ending on 9 April this year.

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