YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenian authorities say more than 70 people have been arrested, including two people suspected of building bombs, as large protests against the new government entered their second week in the capital.
Thousands of demonstrators on Saturday closed off streets in Yerevan during a march pressing demands for the prime minister to resign. Former President Serzh Sargsyan was named premier this week as Armenia transitioned to a new system of government that reduces the presidency’s power and bolsters the prime minister role.
Opponents say the shift effectively makes Sargsyan Armenia’s leader for life.
The national security service said two people with opposition connections were arrested for preparing bombings in public places. Police, meanwhile, said at least 70 demonstrators were detained.
In the evening, about 50,000 demonstrators gathered in the capital’s central Republic Square.
President Armen Sarkisian, a former Armenian prime minister and ambassador to Britain who was elected in March when term limits required Sargsyan to step down, came to the square to speak with protest leader Nikol Pashinian.
Their discussion was not broadcast to the crowd.