YEREVAN — The Armenian police renewed on Sunday their threats to forcibly break up continuing nonstop demonstrations in Yerevan against a controversial increase in electricity prices.
Colonel Valeri Osipian, a deputy chief of the Yerevan police, said security forces will “try to restore public order” if Marshal Bagramian Avenue, a key thoroughfare leading to the presidential palace, remains blocked by protesters after 11:00 pm local time
“Within the framework of the law, the police will take measures to restore public order on Bagramian Avenue and punish delinquent persons,” Osipian told reporters at the scene of the protests.
The stern warning came the day after President Serzh Sarkisian offered concessions to the protesters. He said the Armenian government will subsidize the electricity tariffs to make sure that Armenian households are unaffected, at least for now, by a more than 17 percent price hike, which was supposed to take effect on August 1.
The concessions seemingly failed to satisfy most protesters and No To Plunder, youth movement leading the campaign for a reversal of the unpopular measure. No To Plunder leaders urged supporters to gather on Marshal Bagramian Avenue at 6 pm on Sunday in large numbers and discuss and determine the group’s official response to the president’s decision.
They called for “nationwide mobilization” following President Serzh Sarkisian’s announcement.
Activists from the Electric Yerevan protest movement have been on the streets of central Yerevan for more than a week to protest against a decision by the state’s tariff-setting body to raise energy prices by some 16 percent starting August 1.