Electric Yerevan: Police dismantle barricades, restore traffic in Baghramyan Avenue
Electric Yerevan: Police dismantle barricades, restore traffic in Baghramyan Avenue –
(photos by Gabriel Panossian)
Armenianow – The Armenian Police on Monday dismantled a barricade made of dozens of trash containers that electricity price hike protesters have used to block central Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan for nearly two weeks.
The dismantling took place hours before leaders of the protest known as Electric Yerevan threatened to start advancing the barricade towards the presidential administration building if their demands remained unanswered.
Protesters sat on the asphalt singing patriotic songs and chanting “We are the owners of our country” as the police were carrying out the dismantling.
David Sanasaryan, one of the coordinators of the protest, protested the police actions taken at short notice. Earlier, he had urged the police to give them time until 9 pm so that they could decide on further actions in a larger rally tonight.
But Deputy Police Chief Hunan Poghosyan and Deputy Chief of Yerevan’s Police Valery Osipyan instead urged the Baghramyan Avenue protesters to move to nearby Liberty Square or some other place and continue their protest there without blocking the traffic.
Sanasaryan said they viewed the police actions as a “provocation” and stressed that the authorities bear the responsibility for the consequences of the decision.
After some scuffles with protesters during which several activists were detained the police managed to clear the avenue from the demonstration and by 1:20 pm traffic was restored.
On Saturday, Electric Yerevan protesters announced the start of “decisive steps” in their nonstop demonstrations, giving the authorities until 9 pm Monday to comply with their three demands: to revoke the decision of the Public Services Regulatory Commission to raise electricity prices by over 16 percent; to punish the police officers who ordered and committed violence against protesters and journalists on June 23; to revise the current electricity tariffs towards lowering them.
Otherwise, they said, they would launch a so-called “one step forward” campaign, meaning that they will start moving forward their makeshift barricade closer to the presidential administration every night for as long as the demands remain unmet.