Protesters in the capital of Armenia announced that they are ready for more radical steps and promised every Monday at 9pm to move barricades one step closer to the president’s residence. In response to this, the police destroyed the barricades and chain-lined the Baghramyan Avenue.
Police initially dismantled barricades made of trash bins. In response, protesters stretched a symbolic ribbon across the road and remained seated on the roadway. As a result, between 30 and 40 people were arrested. The police promised not to start criminal cases against them. Besides, waste bins are not considered barricades as well.
Protesters, rallying in Yerevan since last month, demanded to abolish a resolution about the growth of electricity prices, to close criminal cases against activists and to bring to justice security forces who used excessive force during the dispersal of the rally on June 23. This time, the police did not use water cannons and operated faster.
Activists of the movement Electric Yerevan emphasize the legitimacy of their claims. Political activist and former presidential candidate of Armenia, Andrias Ghukasyan said the campaign will continue, but perhaps elsewhere.
Dismantling of the barricades became a reaction to the ultimatum that the rally coordinators delivered to the authorities on Saturday. The ultimate aim of the protesters was to get to the residence of Serzh Sargsyan. Dispersal of the rally was another attempt of the official Yerevan to stem the wave of the social protests. The reason for the people to take to the street was the decision to raise electricity tariffs by 7 drams, or 220 Belarusian rubles.
Arkadz Nestsyarenka, Ales Barazenka, Armenia, belsat.eu/en/