Armenia’s acting prime minister on Wednesday suggested calling a parliamentary election as tens of thousands staged a new protest in the capital against the ruling elite. Two weeks of demonstrations looked to have peaked on Monday when Serzh Sarksyan quit as prime minister. But the protesters have made clear they consider the whole government tainted by his drive to shift power to the premier from the president. “The fight is not over!” said 21-year-old Susana Adamyan, clutching a placard calling on others to take a stand.
Although the protests have been peaceful, the upheaval has threatened to destabilize Armenia, an ally of Russia, in a volatile region riven by its decades-long, low-level conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan.
Moscow has two military bases in the ex-Soviet republic, and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Armenian President Armen Sarkissian by phone on Wednesday. They agreed that political forces must show restraint and solve the crisis through dialogue, the Kremlin said.