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Armenian Police Block Roads Ahead Of Opposition Rally

Opposition supporters march in Yerevan on May 1.

Opposition supporters march in Yerevan on May 1.

YEREVAN -- Armenian authorities seriously restricted transport between Yerevan and the rest of the country before an opposition rally in the capital on May 1, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Police put up roadblocks on the main highways leading to Yerevan, and only a few buses were seen entering the city.

Colonel Sayat Shirinian, chief spokesman for the national police, insisted that officials did not try to lower attendance at the opposition rally.

He told RFE/RL that "we are not closing any roads...We are not hampering anyone. People are free to move and take part in today's rally."

But bus drivers contradicted that statement.

One, who did not want to give his name, said he was stopped by the police while driving to Yerevan from Dilijan, a northern resort town about 100 kilometers away. He added: "They said I have no right to take people [to Yerevan]."

Another driver said he was forced to turn back when his bus reached the nearest police post on his way toward Yerevan.