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YEREVAN, June 25 /TASS/. Rain, thunderstorm and gusty wind were not a hindrance to Armenian protesters who continued rallying against a government decision to raise electricity tariffs. About 800 people have gathered at the Marshal Bagramyan prospect in central Yerevan by now.
If it were not for the barricades made of plastic garbage containers that has blocked the street, the huge crowd outside the House of Writers would look more like a party at which young people are singing and dancing; leisured public is drifting along and parents with children are walking about. Many Yerevan residents are using good weather as a chance to walk along the empty street free from traffic after work. As the weather started getting worse, resourceful activists continued changing loud calls to cancel the electricity tariff hikes and singing songs from under huge polyethylene canvasses.
More people are expected to arrive in the evening but on the whole the place looks more like a park of culture and recreation rather than a strike. Besides, volunteers are distributing cold water, juice, pizzas and other food.
But despite the seemingly festive atmosphere, the situation in the Armenian capital is much more serious and complicated. The protesters are insistently demanding that the commission for regulation of public services cancel its decision to increase prices for electricity.
However, Robert Nazaryan, the regulator’s chief and the former mayor of Yerevan, told TASS earlier on Thursday the authorities were not planning to change their decision to increase electricity tariffs. Armenian Prime Minister Ovik Abramyan explained the reasons behind the government’s decision at a government meeting on Thursday. He said the measure had absolutely no alternative.
For his part, Vaginak Shushanyan, one of the leaders of the "No to Robbery!" public initiative, said that his people would not heed the prime minister’s call to unblock the street. The premier also asked the protesters to be constructive adding the government was ready to discuss any problem with them.