Yerevan: Police Warning Families and Journalists to Leave the Center

From our Georgia Today journalist in Yerevan: Karen Tovmasyan.

The situation in Yerevan became extremely tense after demonstrators refused the suggestion of the organizing "No to Plunder" initiative to leave Baghramian Avenue. No to Plunder have said that the President's promise of yesterday to conduct an audit of Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA)- to find out if the raising of the price of electricity by 16% is justified or not- is a satisfactory enough reason to leave Baghramian Avenue. The demonstrators, however, stated that the promise of the President has no importance for them and the promise to conduct an audit is not satisfactory. They demanded an annulment of the price hike and punishment for all the policemen who, on June 23, attacked peaceful demonstrators and journalists.

The initiators of the demonstration have now left the square, but the majority of demonstrators remain firm in their decision to stay on the Avenue until the President annuls the raising of the price of electricity. Police have once again threatened to use force against the peaceful demonstrators if they do not leave the Avenue.

The number of the demonstrators in Yerevan center is unprecedented at around 20-25,000 up from around 5000 at the start of the demonstrations on June 19. The demonstrators even succeeded in closing the Square of France, overcoming a police barricade which collapsed under the number of demonstrators. 

The most central part of Yerevan, made up of Mashtots Avenue, Sayat Nova Street, Moskovian Street, Isahakyan Street, Teryan Street and  Saryan Street, is now totally paralyzed; public transportation is unable to access the area, yet more and more people are coming to the manifestation site by car and taxi.

From time to time police forces standing on the other side of the barricades make active moves- observers say they are trying to use a means of psychological pressure to make the people leave the Avenue.

A large number of members of the Armenian Parliament from all fractions other than the ruling party have also made an appearance at the site of the manifestation. 

Together with social demands, demonstrators are also chanting increasingly more  anti-government slogans than before, such as "Struggle, struggle to the end" and "Resign, Resign, Resign", demanding the resignation of the President.

From time to time police call for people with children to leave the Square, and also call on journalists to leave the location to secure them from possible risks. But neither journalists nor the people are leaving Baghramian Avenue- there are many children and journalists, including foreign correspondents, in Baghramian Avenue at the current time.

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28 June 2015 23:56