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Armenian Merchants Protest New Law and Close Republic Square Road

Since morning, nearly 400 Yerevan-based merchants have gathered in front of Armenia’s government building, threatening to strike, if the authorities do not cancel the “Law on Turnover Tax” going into effect on October 1.

The protesters note, that the law will have absolutely no effect on reducing the black market, as the Armenian PM Hovik Abrahamyan had declared. Those who wished to stay anonymous have claimed that the new law has the intention of creating a more difficult situation for small and medium sized enterprises.

The protesters claim that at the present moment they pay a 3.5% tax, in addition to, rent for their stalls at the markets, which gives enough room for them to work.

According to the new law, they have to first, buy new controlled cash registers, which cost around 80,000 AMD (nearly $200). Other than that, businessmen must electronally send complete detailed descriptions of their product’s size, style, color, and other criteria to the Tax Services.

Near the government building, one of the entrepreneurs said, that they are simply incapable of switching to another procedural process, because they would “need about 3 accountants,” which they do not have the means for.

The government is also forcing them to present invoices related to their products, which according to merchants, is impossible, because large supplier companies often do not give them documents related to their products, in addition, importers also do not give out these documents. “This is not a fight against the black market or corruption, corruption is by Lfiks (nickname for Republican Party MP and oligarch Samvel Aleksanyan),” said a protester.


Karen Adamyan, a protester, noted that in the past few years the volume of trade among small and medium sized businesses has drastically dropped and after the law is in effect, nearly 50,000 individuals across the country are willing to strike.

PM Hovik Abrahamyan, reached out to the protesters and invited a 20 person delegation to speak with him. The meditators returned after one hour, stating that they have spoken to the PM and Ministry of Finance representative Armen Alaverdyan. One of the mediators said that the authorities refused to discuss the issue of recalling the law.


“They (government) said, this law was passed to catch the big (businesses), even if we catch you with a small violation, we won’t fine you,” noted one of the mediators.

One of the women at the protest responded saying, “We don’t believe Hovik Abrahamyan.”

When the merchants claimed that large importers do not provide them with invoices, government officials advised them to demand the invoices and protest against them.

“They want me to protest against the person giving me my livelihood,” said a disgruntled protester.

Those discontent after the meeting with the PM, blocked off the entrance to Republic Square, via Tigran Mets boulevard. They yelled out slogans like “Shame on you, shame on you.”

The protest was met with large numbers of police officers who threatened to “clean the street” if protesters did not open the street. The protesters opened the street and discussed their future plans in front of the government building. They decided to gather again in front of the government building on Thursday, 9:30am.