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Yerevan Protest Enters Third Night

  • RFE/RL's Armenian Service

Protesters in Yerevan and other cities are demonstrating against an electricity price increase of over 16 percent.

Protesters in Yerevan and other cities are demonstrating against an electricity price increase of over 16 percent.

Armenians demonstrating against a hike in electricity prices are preparing for a third night blockading the capital's central avenue.

Thousands of protesters continued their sit-in protest on Yerevan's Baghramian Avenue on June 24, after a second attempt to march toward the presidential residence on the evening of June 23 was blocked by police.

More than a dozen lawmakers, actors, and other celebrities spent the night at the protest site, forming a "live" shield between the police and the protesters.

A leader of the pressure group called No To Plunder said he believed the police presence at the protest site has decreased to avoid confrontation.

The demonstrators have been demanding that authorities revoke a decision by state regulators to raise electricity prices by 7 drams (about $0.02) per kilowatt/hour. The 16 percent price hike is due to come into effect on August 1.

Demonstrations were held in other towns across the country, including Gyumri, Charentsavan, Abovyan, and Ashtarak.

The unrest is the most serious that Armenia has seen in years, raising concerns about political stability in the impoverished former Soviet republic, which has become increasingly dependent on Russia in recent years.

WATCH: Armenian demonstrators remained on the streets of central Yerevan on June 24 during ongoing protests against a planned increase in electricity prices.

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