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YEREVAN, June 25. /TASS/. Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan promised on Thursday to increase the amount of annual social payments to low-income families allowing mitigating the effects of the hike in electricity tariffs.
"The government will allocate 2.5 billon drams [around $31 mln] within a year for the socially disadvantaged groups," the premier said opening a government meeting.
Almost 400,000 citizens or 105,000 low-income families will have their annual social benefits increased by around $51, the premier said announcing the respective decision.
The country’s antitrust authority has been ordered to control the prices on consumer goods.
The protests, which have been held in Armenia’s capital Yerevan over the past few days, are now declining. Just several dozen people remain on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue, in downtown Yerevan, which became the scene of clashes between protesters and police on Tuesday.
People have been provided with drinking water and food, and police are in talks with them.
The demonstrations were initially sparked by a decision of authorities to increase electricity tariffs. The measure, due to enter into force on August 1, has angered the Armenian citizens who say this would lead to a hike in prices on essential items and many services.
The country’s opposition later took advantage of the situation and forced people into streets, what resulted in the dispersal of the protests by police on June 23.