Even a couple of weeks ago, little in Yerevan foreshadowed a revolution. The initial street protests against Sargsyan were tiny: twenty young men, at most, gathered in the city centre with banners and megaphones in the evenings. Belonging to disparate opposition groups, they urged Sargsyan to keep his promise not to seek nomination for the newly strengthened post of prime minister at the end of his second (and, according to the Armenian constitution, final) presidential term.
But on 16 April, events gathered steam. Police officials tried to disperse a small group of peaceful protesters in a central street of the capital, including those who arrived with Pashinyan. Photos of rows of riot police firing tear gas at protesters and breaking the noses of some spread quickly over social media and were broadcast by major foreign media networks. Against this backdrop of police brutality, Parliament elected Sargsyan as premier.
The next day, Sargsyan stepped down. In his resignation statement he admitted that he had no clear idea of the situation in the country. He thus not only became the first post-Soviet leader in fifteen years to concede power peacefully to street rallies but also took the even rarer step of admitting his mistakes and disconnect from citizens.|