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Armenian Police Disperse Protesters, Unblock Central Yerevan Avenue (Updated)

UPDATED at 10:50 am:  Police have released 48 people detained during the morning dispersal of the sit-in on Baghramyan Avenue, Epress.am was told by the press service of the Armenian Police. 

Protocols were drawn up against the detainees on the basis of Article 182 of RA Code on Administrative Offences (failure to meet legitimate demands of police officers performing their duty of maintaining public order and ensuring public safety).

At around 5 am Saturday morning several hundred Armenian Police officers dispersed the few dozen demonstrators blocking central Marshal Baghramyan Avenue. The majority of protesters were detained, while others were pushed to the sidewalks and blocked from the street by rows of law enforcement officers. The entire operation lasted no more than 30 minutes, after which police used a water cannon to wash off the traces of the overnight protest. Soon after, traffic on one of Yerevan’s main streets resumed.

Security forces did not use special equipment this time; however, they were seen forcefully wringing the protesters’ hands and tearing some of their clothes before cramming them into already overcrowded police vehicles. Some of the demonstrators sustained minor injuries; one of them fainted and was treated by ambulance crews on the spot.

Rima Sargsyan, the only member of “No to Plunder!” movement remaining on Baghramyan Avenue, said most of her peers had been detained. The exact number of detainees, however, is still unclear. 

Recall, hundreds of demonstrators reoccupied Friday evening the central Yerevan avenue in renewed protest against the latest hike in electricity rates in Armenia. The protesters tried initially to march toward the presidential palace but were stopped by a police cordon. They demanded that authorities annul the decision of increasing the “already overpriced electricity tariffs,” as well as conducted a fair investigation into the violent dispersal by police of the peaceful demonstration on June 23. 

Video from Azatutyun.am