Armenian PM rejects demands to quit on 10th day of protests

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He again said that the protests do not violate an Armenian law on public gatherings. Serzh Sargsyan must immediately resign.

Anti-government protests have gripped Armenia for more than a week in protest at a constitutional change that has allowed the country's former president to retain power as prime minister. In order to avoid irreparable losses, I urge Nikol Pashinian to sit at the political dialogue and negotiations table.

"A faction that got 7-8 percent of the vote [in the April 2017 parliamentary elections] can not speak on behalf of the people, and I don't want to talk to you anymore", Sarkisian shot back before storming out of the room. "If you do not accept the lawful demand of the state, goodbye", PM Sargsyan said and walked out on the opposition lawmaker. The meeting was announced after President Armen Sarkissian met with Pashinian during the protest on Saturday and held a meeting with the prime minister separately.

Later in the afternoon, thousands of protesters gathered in Yerevan's Republic Square, outside the government's headquarters that were cordoned off by riot police. Pashinyan also noted that according to the law "On Freedom of Assembly", if the rally is of a peaceful nature, the police should assist it, even if it does not comply with the procedures of this law. After the resignation of the Prime Minister, he said, the opposition would present to the parliament a new candidate for the post, someone the people on the Republic Square would have agreed on. About 3,000 people took part in a rally in the evening.

"As of 15:00 April 20 in various police departments of Yerevan delivered 183 person", according to the Agency. Critics have said the election was anti-democratic and have branded it as a power grab.

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He called on police officers to "lay down arms and join in the protests" but they intervened using stun grenades and began dispersing the crowd.

In Yerevan (Armenia) during the protests arrested 183 people.

Pashinian has repeatedly warned the authorities against arresting him, saying that would only accelerate their downfall.

Serzh Sargsyan (no relation) stepped down as president but returned as prime minister, breaking his own promise.

His opponents say this will effectively give Sargsyan a third term, since numerous powers previously held by the president have now been transferred to the prime minister under constitutional changes that make Armenia a parliamentary republic.