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Armenian protesters to renew efforts to stop capital traffic

The leader of large protests that have roiled the capital of Armenia for a week is calling on supporters to renew efforts to paralyze traffic.

The protests, which began last Friday, are against former President Serzh Sargsyan's assumption of the prime minister's post. The move came as Armenia changed its government structure to reduce the power of the president and give more authority to the premier.

Opposition demonstrators gather in the Republic Square to protest the former president's shift into the prime minister's seat in Yerevan, Armenia, Thursday, April 19, 2018. Several protesters have been arrested in Yerevan on Thursday as police tried to prevent sit -in protest in front of a government building. (Narek Aleksanyan, PAN Photo via AP)

Opponents claim the change allows Sargsyan to continue as the country's leader even though he had to step down from the presidency because of term limits.

Some earlier protest gatherings shut down traffic in the center of Yerevan. Protest leader Nikolai Pashinian on Thursday night told a rally of 10,000 people on central Republic Square that actions to halt traffic would begin Friday morning.

Opposition demonstrators light their cell phones as they gather in the Republic Square to protest the former president's shift into the prime minister's seat in Yerevan, Armenia, Thursday, April 19, 2018. Several protesters have been arrested in Yerevan on Thursday as police tried to prevent sit -in protest in front of a government building. (Aram Kirakosyan, PAN Photo via AP)