YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Several thousand protesters have marched toward Armenia’s presidential residence in Yerevan to demonstrate against rising electricity prices.
Participants organized an improvised sit-in on Baghramyan Avenue on June 22 as riot police blocked the crowd on its way to the area housing government offices.
Tension was high, with men wearing civilian clothes trying to force journalists out of the area.
Members of the group No to Plunder, which organized the rally, demanded that they be allowed free movement through the avenue, but police warned that the protest march was “unlawful.”
President Serzh Sarkisian proposed to meet a small group of protesters if demonstrators stopped the march, but the offer was rejected.
The Public Services Regulatory Commission of Armenia voted on June 17 to raise electricity prices by 16 percent to 49 drams ($0.1) per kilowatt hour (kWh). This was the third consecutive price hike in the past three years.