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Number of rally participants in central Yerevan drops to several dozen people by morning

June 26, 2015, 9:51 UTC+3 YEREVAN
The riots erupted after the Commission for regulation of the country’s public services had agreed to increase public electricity tariffs by 16%
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© Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, June 26. /TASS/. Protests continue in the capital of Armenia Yerevan over the government’s decision to raise electricity prices. The number of protesters on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue has reduced from 5,000 on Thursday evening to a few dozen people on Friday morning.

The avenue remains closed to vehicular traffic - the protesters have blocked it with a barricade made of plastic garbage cans. The traffic police are now trying to resolve the problem of congested streets in the city, which is the result of the avenue’s blocking.

The protesters are currently sitting on the sidewalk, slowly moving around, talking, exchanging views. With the coming of dawn, people began to sweep the street, there are piles of garbage in several places.

The protest organizers asked the sit-in participants to bring loudspeakers with them. Demonstrators earlier complained that they couldn’t hear their fellow protesters’ speeches from the barricade.

Mass protest rallies have been underway in Yerevan for several days. The riots erupted after the Commission for regulation of the country’s public services had agreed to increase public electricity tariffs by 16% to meet the request received from CJSC "Electric Networks of Armenia" distribution company, a subsidiary of RAO UES INTERNATIONAL. The measure which is to take effect on August 1 caused a wave of indignation among ordinary Armenians who assumed that the electricity price hike would automatically increase prices for essentials and many services. Many people took to the streets to express dissatisfaction with the authorities’ actions.

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