The protest against “the Law on Turnover Tax” began at 10 am in front of the Armenian National Assembly in order to address their issues with parliamentarians.
Epress.am spoke to protesting merchants, who wished to stay anonymous to defend themselves, they noted, that no one is present from the Vosku Shuka (Gold Market). Last week, the owner of the Vosku Shuka, Vagharsh Abrahamyan, broke the tables and showcases and fired those merchants participating in a protest in front of the government building.
Today, protesters have noted that there have been threats from the Malatya market executive and Petak shopping center leadership. It is relevant to note that the Malatya market is controlled by the family of Republican Party MP and oligarch Samvel Aleksanyan, while Petak is owned by the head of the Presidential Administrative Department Varuzhan Grigoryan.
At 11am there were over a 100 people gathered and the participants flow were increasing. The majority of the protesters were from “Ayrarat” market and merchants from the well known construction-based Gnuni (Vardanants) street.
One protester claimed that the other non-attending merchants who fear losing their jobs, are scared for no reason, because once the tax takes into effect they will not be able to work anyway and will be forced to “halt their business.”
To note, on Saturday Armenian National Congress MP and former-PM Hrant Bagratyan, posted the laws problematic nature on his Facebook page.
Around 11:30, there were already a few hundred protesters gathered. They met with Armenian National Congress Secretary Aram Manukyan and Prosperous Armenia Party MP Mikayel Melkumyan. The protesters presented their demands, which were responded by Mikayel Melkumyan, who noted that there has been an established working group which has prepared two new drafts. In accordance to one of the drafts, anyone involved in small and medium sized businesses has the chance to choose either the present or old system.
Recall, that according to the law, the new draft states, that the turnover tax percentage for small and medium businesses is decreased from 3% to 1%, however, the portion stating mandatory documentation of sales and of products has not changed, which is unacceptable for the merchants.
Melkumyan noted that they will also conduct discussions with the protesters and present final options to the National Assembly discussion. The Prosperous Armenia Party MP underlined that they will try to raise the issue in the National Assembly as quickly as possible. Aram Manukyan, also said, that they will try to put the issue on the agenda quickly, but told the protesters to not stay calm, because their continual pressure may only lead to some result.
During the discussion in front of the National Assembly, the Yerevan deputy police Chief Valeri Osipyan, began to disturb the conversation between the protesters and MPs by demanding them to move away from the entrance to the National Assembly. Shortly thereafter, the MPs went back into the building and the merchants finished their protest.
The non-ruling parties discussed the issue and called for an urgent session to take place tomorrow morning.