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‘We’re Condemned to Starvation’ Say Yerevan Flower Vendors

The appeal submitted to police by Narine Vardanyan and Heghine Poghosyan, two flower vendors on Yerevan’s Abovyan street,  has not been processed yet.

Recall, on May 31, deputy head of the Yerevan City Hall Trade and Services Department Arman Yedoyan told the street vendors that in order to continue selling flowers in the area, they had to have the necessary tables in place, for which they had to put down a deposit of $1,000 USD each.

Apparently, the two indignant flower vendors then discussed this issue that evening, expressing their discontent with the authorities’ decision. This discussion then apparently reached Yedoyan, who two days later approached the vendors and, according to Vardanyan and Poghosyan, cursed at them and ordered them to gather their things and leave the area.

Speaking to Epress.am, Heghine Poghosyan said that after submitting their complaint to the police, investigator Hayk Aramyan didn’t call her in for questioning and only called in Narine Vardanyan. Further, Poghosyan said that the investigator didn’t process the application of her 21-year-old daughter Ani Avetisyan, who Yedoyan also insulted that day.

At this point, the vendors say they don’t know whether a criminal case has been launched against Yedoyan or not.

“In our complaint against Yedoyan, we’re also demanding financial compensation, since they made a decision in one day, prohibiting us from selling our flower and as a result, we have incurred great losses — the flowers have perished,” said Poghosyan.

Vardanyan informed Epress.am that a little further away from their spot on the sidewalk, a woman by the name of Sudarik very plainly sells produce. Note street trade (other than selling ice cream, soft drinks and flowers) was banned by Yerevan City Hall and enforced early this year.

“Through an internal procedure, city hall has permitted her to sell produce there, but they don’t allow us to sell flowers. Furthermore, that woman wants to provoke us to [take] extreme action. She says, ‘Let’s go, bash their heads in’ and so on. But we know from whom that [order] is sent and for what, and we stay as far as possible away from that woman. Since Jun. 3 have been deprived of the opportunity to sell flowers and we’re condemned to starvation,” said Vardanyan.

They will most likely appeal to the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan with an open letter, she added.