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Armenian Government Figures Meeting Arrested Protest Leader


Armenia - First Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetian makes a statement in Yerevan,23Apr,2018

Armenia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetian was meeting with Nikol Pashinian on Monday as anti-government protests organized by the arrested opposition leader continued to grow in Yerevan and other parts of the country.

“I am now going to meet with Mr. Pashinian so that we negotiate and find a solution,” Karapetian said after an emergency meeting with President Armen Sarkissian and Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian.

Karapetian also told reporters that they decided to ask prosecutors not to refrain from petitioning the Armenian parliament to allow the prosecution of Pashinian and two other opposition parliamentarians detained on Sunday. He did not comment further.

The comments suggest that Pashinian will be released from custody in the coming hours or days.

Earlier in the afternoon, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Prime Minister Sarkisian’s junior coalition partner, met with Pashinian in custody. “This meeting gives us hope that further dialogue could take place,” Hrant Markarian said in a statement.

“Dashnaktsutyun does not agree with the arrests but it is also against [opposition] ultimatums,” he said.

The urgent talks came as tens of thousands of people again flooded streets of Yerevan and other cities to demand Sarkisian’s demonstration. Many streets in the Armenian capital were blocked as a result.

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