Armenia Assembled and Rejoiced at Pashinyan’s Election as Prime Minister

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YEREVAN – Well-behaved crowds of over 100,000 people in Yerevan’s central square were hopeful in the morning and early afternoon of May 8 while they awaited the results of the parliamentary election. Many wore shirts or hats with slogans or pictures supporting Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy for the office of prime minister. Occasional drizzles of rain did not mar the occasion or dampen spirits, though only a few had umbrellas. There were people of all ages, ranging from infants with their parents to the elderly.

The crowds would break into chants or yell encouragement as Pashinyan addressed them prior to the vote. Later, the speakers at the parliamentary session prior to the actual vote was broadcast, and again the crowds voiced their approval of speakers on Pashinyan’s side. When leaders of the Republicans spoke, the masses screamed their disapproval, often turning their backs on their images on the large screens and displaying their middle fingers in anger (see brief video).

(photo credit: Edmond Y. Azadian–all other photos Aram Arkun)

The tricolor was ever-present, on shirts, hats, scarfs, cars, and even as long banners which people held overhead. In addition, flags of a few political parties, and even a few countries like France, were being waved in support of the popular movement. People held up banners from a few different villages and cities, as well as from places as far afield as Poland and Belgium.

In breaks between speakers, lively patriotic or traditional music was played, as well as songs directly connected to Pashinyan’s campaign. Many swayed or even danced to the music. The crowds stayed there for the most part from late morning till late afternoon, when heavy rain led many to seek cover. The central part of the city next to the square was blocked to traffic, while cars throughout the city honked their horns in jubilation for hours. It was like a mass street party after the parliamentary election of Pashinyan.

 

In some places, individuals did Armenian traditional dances out of joy (see video).

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This was a high-tech event, with drones capturing images of the crowd and broadcasting them on two large screens in the square.

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