System of a Down's Serj Tankian Joins Armenia Opposition Rally

Armenian-American rock star and political activist Serj Tankian joined a pro-opposition rally in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on May 7, appearing on stage alongside opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan before leading the crowd in song.

Tankian’s appearance came the evening before a parliamentary vote that was expected to see Pashinyan elected as prime minister. The rally followed weeks of protests and strikes after parliament voted in mid-April to elect former president Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister – a move seen as anti-democratic by the opposition.

The protests led Sargsyan to resign the post after just a few days. However, mass demonstrations continued. On May 1, Pashinyan’s bid to become prime minister was blocked in parliament. However, he was expected to be elected in a second vote on May 8, after the ruling Republican Party said it would back any candidate nominated by one-third of parliamentarians.

Tankian, the lead singer in alternative heavy rock band System of a Down, arrived in Armenia earlier in the day and told reporters he was “elated” and “excited” to be taking part in the rally. Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful