It was on April 17, just one week after Serzh Sargsyan’s decade-long presidency had ended, that he was re-elected as the Prime Minster of the country, just as he was from 2007 to 2008. This would’ve been a violation of the law if it wasn’t for the constitutional changes he enacted in December 2015, but since he removed the term in office limit, what he did, by law, was acceptable. But this doesn’t mean it was accepted by the public, especially the youth.
Immediately after the new PM was sworn in, thousands of civilians gathered in Yerevan’s Republic Square, lead by opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan. As the days went by, the crowd grew larger and larger, hundreds of soldiers in uniforms even joining the rally against the “power grabbing” Sargsyan. The protest lead to schools, learning centers and universities to close, especially since the march was mostly made up of students, the youth. And even though there were attempts by the government to obligate students to return back to their classes by making universities call up the students’ families, the revolution went on. And what was amazing about this revolution was the involvement of the youth, and not just the youth of the nation, but all of the Armenian youth, spread all across the diaspora, from Lebanon to the United States, ranting on Twitter about this unjust situation and posting on Instagram pictures of the unbelievable enormous crowds with the hashtag
#ՄերժիրՍերժին which translates to #RejectSerzh, showing pride in their homeland and and even earning a video post from the worldwide famous metal band System of a Down’s front man, Serj Tankian, a known Armenian, in which he expresses his admiration for the revolution and for the people.
“I want to congratulate you for so far holding one of the most successful civil disobedience campaigns in all Armenian history. The movement is authentic and completely yours and should remain so untainted by politics or any other concerns. You should know that everyone in the Diaspora is behind you, even those that are in organizations that oppose your efforts. We are taken back from your eloquence, peacefulness and inclusiveness. I can see the love in your eyes and in your hearts,” Serj Tankian said.
The protests lasted for 11 days straight, after which Serzh Sargsyan resigned on April 23. But the revolution was not over, not just yet, as the citizens of the nation continued their rallies every single day, demanding for Pashinyan, the leader of the original #VelvetRevolution, to replace Sargsyan as the new Prime Minister of Armenia, until May 9, when the people’s wish became true and Pashinyan became the new PM.
Armenia is a nation that has survived a genocide. Armenia is a country that rebuilt itself after living under the power of the Soviet Union for decades. Armenians are people who have outlived the oppression of the Ottoman Empire. It was not above the people’s ability to bring justice, and so they did.