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Several Detained in Yerevan as Activists Try to Reignite Protest Movement (VIDEO)

Armenian Police once again clashed with activists fighting against the recent hike in Armenian electricity prices in Yerevan on Tuesday, September 1. Several dozen protesters, members of the youth movement “No to Plunder!” who had rallied at a nearby park Tuesday morning for a discussion, tried to approach the gates of the residence of the Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan on central Marshal Baghramyan avenue “to be closer to the recipient of their demands.”

Note, Sargsyan announced on June 27 that the government of the Republic of Armenia would subsidize the cost of electricity rate hike pending in international audit of the national electricity distribution company “Electric Networks of Armenia.” However, “No to Plunder!” members announced they were going to resume the mass protests after the government announced recently the price hike would be subsidized for households and small businesses only.

Dozens of law enforcement officers formed a barricade and closed the road toward Baghramyan 26, not allowing the protesters near the presidential palace. The activists then tried to block the central avenue, running over the carriageway and blocking traffic, but to no avail: police officers forcefully removed them from the roadway. The actions of the police were coordinated by Yerevan Deputy Police Chief Valery Osipyan

The police detained 4 people, among them members of “No to Plunder!” initiative. The activists were released later in the evening. 

“No to Plunder!” announced Tuesday evening they were going to hold a rally at Freedom Square in Yerevan on September 11.

Recall, 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.

“No to Plunder!” initiative were one of the organizers of the sit-on Baghramyan Avenue. However, on 28 June, they separated from the demonstration on the central avenue and rallied on Freedom Square in Yerevan, heeding the warnings by law enforcement officers. The initiative announced two days later they were terminating their protest action. Most of the demonstrators on Baghramyan Avenue, however, stayed at the demonstration site where the sit-in lasted up to July 6.