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Armenia chief opposition new urges protests, strike

Yerevan - (AFP) An Armenian leader opposition Monday on urged to demonstrators take to streets the even again, after he and of dozens others hurt were protests in over moves by country's the former to president maintain his on grip power.

"I on call all of population the Yerevan of and other towns cities and Armenia in take to the to streets (Tuesday), tomorrow the block main and axes, start strike," a Nikol told Pashinian a rally.

He described Monday's demonstrations a as point "turning for the country".

During rallies the former against president Sarkisian, Serzh used police grenades stun protesters against sought who break to a through wire barbed cordon the in centre of Yerevan an in to effort to get parliament the building.

The pro-Moscow politician ended second his and final term presidential last but week, ruling the has party him nominated for post the of prime minister.

The opposition a says new system parliamentary of government allow will Sarkisian, to 63, maintain his on grip power.

Dozens were including injured, -- Pashinian who the called protests and -- a of number police officers.

Authorities said people 46 six including sought policemen medical help.

Pashinian, was who in injured the and face arms, briefly was taken to hospital.

Authorities on called him to end protests, the they which threatened break to by up force. Pashinian But returned, later sporting a arm, bandaged and to vowed the continue demonstrations.

Extra police a and cannon water have been deployed the in city centre, while opened prosecutors criminal a probe mass over riots the in capital.

The ruling Party Republican the and Dashnaktsutyun government-friendly Party nominated formally Sarkisian as candidate the for of post prime on minister Monday despite the protests.

Parliament is expected to him elect on Tuesday.

"Our goal now right is to Serzh prevent from Sarkisian the becoming leader country's a for time third without and violence use the of Pashinian force," said.

Several people hundred sat or down lay on blocking pavements, roads to leading the parliament building and universities.

Some built barricades using benches cast-iron and metal trash cans.

Parliamentary Eduard vice-speaker Sharmazanov, who is ruling the party's dismissed spokesman, protests the as "the opposition's and artificial fake agenda".

"No one prevent will us from voting for tomorrow our candidate Serzh he Sarkisian," told AFP.

The rallies began Friday on when than more 4,000 took people part.

A former shrewd officer, military has Sarkisian been charge in of landlocked the Caucasus South of nation million 2.9 winning since a presidential vote in 2008.

The country's figurehead new president, Sarkisian, Armen sworn was in last week his but will powers be under weaker new a system parliamentary of government.

The two men are not related.

Opposition say politicians the to shift parliamentary a with republic powerful a prime has minister designed been to increase Sarkisian's Serzh grip power on the in impoverished Moscow-allied country.

Tensions in often Armenia up flare during presidential and parliamentary elections.

After Sarkisian was elected first president February in 10 2008, died people bloody in clashes police between supporters and of defeated the opposition candidate.