Police, protesters clash in Armenia as leader stays in power

Police officers restrain opposition demonstrators as they march to protest the former president's shift into the prime minister's seat in Yerevan, Armenia, Monday, April 16, 2018. Thousands of opposition supporters have blocked traffic in the Armenian capital over a recent change of government that the opposition sees as a move for the ex-president to stay in power. (Karo Sahakyan, PAN Photo via AP)
Opposition demonstrators march to protest the former president's shift into the prime minister's seat in Yerevan, Armenia, Monday, April 16, 2018. Thousands of opposition supporters have blocked traffic in the Armenian capital over a recent change of government that the opposition sees as a move for the ex-president to stay in power. (Aram Kirakosyan, PAN Photo via AP)
Opposition demonstrators sit in front of police line to protest the former president's shift into the prime minister's seat in Yerevan, Armenia, Monday, April 16, 2018. Thousands of opposition supporters have blocked traffic in the Armenian capital over a recent change of government that the opposition sees as a move for the ex-president to stay in power. (Vahan Stepanyan, PAN Photo via AP)

YEREVAN, Armenia — Police used tear gas and stun grenades as they clashed Monday with anti-government protesters in Armenia, leaving several people wounded, after thousands of opposition supporters began to march toward parliament in Yerevan.

Several thousand people blocked traffic Monday morning in the capital of this former Soviet nation, camping out on the streets to protest a change of government that they see as a fig leaf by the ex-president to stay in power.

Serzh Sargsyan, who served as Armenia's president from 2008 until earlier this year when he stepped down because of term limits, is set to be approved as prime minister on Tuesday. He will operate under a new political system that sees the president's powers weakened and the prime minister taking a dominant role.

Armenia's opposition views the move as Sargsyan's attempt to stay in power indefinitely and has vowed to keep protesting around the clock.

About 10,000 people started marching toward parliament early Monday afternoon and were blocked by police using tear gas and stun grenades.

An Associated Press reporter saw several people wounded, with at least four being taken away by ambulances, including protest leader Nikol Pashinian.

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