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Armenians Resume Protest One Week Before Electricity Rate Hike

Dozens of people protesting against rising electricity tariffs have gathered on a central square of the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

Police on July 27 responded by setting up barricades to prevent protesters from occupying a grassy area in the center of the city's main square.

Earlier, activists with the Arise Armenia pressure group announced a five-day "street blocking" campaign lasting until July 31 in their latest bid to force the government to cancel a decision to raise electricity rates by 16 percent as of August 1.

Most of the protesters left the streets earlier this month after the government promised to fully subsidize the rates hike pending the outcome of an international audit of the Russian-owned company that runs Armenia's power grid.

On July 6, police dismantled barricades that the protesters had set up on Baghramian Avenue.

The small, radical Arise Armenia group, however, continues to demand the government rescind its rate-hike decision and that it punish police officers responsible for a violent June 23 attempt to break up the demonstration.

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