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Armenian Police Curb Travel To Yerevan Ahead Of Rally

Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian leads a march of supporters through central Yerevan on September 18.
YEREVAN -- Armenia officials again restricted transportation between Yerevan and its surrounding regions before a major opposition rally in the capital on September 18, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

As police patrolled the region, public buses and minibuses were a rare sight on all roads to Yerevan.

Meanwhile, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian spoke to thousands of supporters in downtown Yerevan at a rally held by his opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK).

Similar "security precautions" have taken place before nearly every major demonstration staged by the HAK since the beginning of 2008.

In Nor Hajn, about 15 kilometers north of Yerevan, taking public transport to the capital was nearly impossible. One woman told RFE/RL: "As always, it's ordinary people like me who suffer. I have important court business in Yerevan today but am unable to go there."

Just outside the town, a roadblock was erected where police were making random checks of vehicles passing through.

Sarkis Baghdasarian, the deputy chief of the Nor Hajn police, told RFE/RL that the roadblocks were the result of some cattle theft which he said had been committed in the area earlier in the week.

Police patrols could also be seen outside the nearby town of Abovian.

Anushavan Dilakian, a police officer on the scene, said police were looking for drugs and weapons. Baghdasarian denied any link between the police presence and the rally later that day.