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Demonstration in Downtown Yerevan Enters Stage of Self-Organization

Public discussions began on June 29 on Baghramyan Avenue in downtown Yerevan, which were quite productive. People protesting against the hike in electricity rates in Armenia, as reported by an Epress.am correspondent, were left without an initiative group after the rally on June 28, and were faced with a need of developing a new tactical plan. 

The overall situation at the demonstration site on Monday evening gave the impression that the protesters were close to despair; they began saying that the ranks of the sit-in participants had thinned, which could create problems for them. However, within a few hours the flow of the people considerably increased, thousands of citizens once again gathered on Baghramyan Avenue, and a self-organization process of the protest began. 

At first, multiple discussions were being conducted by small groups of people, but at some point citizens started to assemble around a single discussion. Here, it was proposed to create working groups, some of which would be engaged in research work, others – communication with the media and organization of thematic discussions. The first of these discussions began on the night of June 30.

Compared to the previous days of the sit-in, the event on June 29 featured fewer songs and dances as the noise could disturb the discussions, protesters said.

Meanwhile, the “No to Robbery” initiative group which had separated from the demonstration on Baghramyan Avenue and rallied on Freedom Square in Yerevan on Sunday, announced later in the evening that they were terminating their protest action. 

Note, protesters on Baghramyan Avenue announced earlier on June 29 that their demands to the Armenian authorities remained unchanged: review and reverse the illegal decision by the RA Public Services Regulatory Commission to increase electricity rates for consumers, review last year's decision on increasing the prices in order to annul it; hold offending law enforcement officers responsible for their violent actions on Baghramyan Avenue on the morning of June 23, and to punish those who gave them these illegal orders. 

On June 19, thousands of demonstrators began round-the-clock protests in Yerevan against the plans by the national power utility to raise electricity tariffs in Armenia. 
On June 22, hundreds of the demonstrators marched toward the RA presidential residence on central Marshal Baghramyan Avenue. However, hundreds of armed police officers, forming a barricade, closed the road, not allowing demonstrators to get any closer to the presidential office. Protesters then sat in the middle of the road at the intersection of Baghramyan and Isahakyan streets, staging an impromptu sit-in outside the presidential palace.
Early on June 23, authorities warned the people that the protest was unsanctioned and warned that if the demonstrators did not clear the area, the police would use “special means” to disperse them. Shortly after, Armenian riot police violently dispersed the crowd.