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Armenian PM says some people among Yerevan protesters seek to destabilize the country

June 29, 2015, 0:41 UTC+3

Meanwhile, young man who called for armed confrontation was detained in downtown Yerevan amid ongoing rallies

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Protest in Yerevan

Protest in Yerevan

YEREVAN, June 28. /TASS/. Forces seeking to destabilize the situation in Armenia have showed up among protesters in Marshal Bagramian Avenue in downtown Yerevan, Armenian Prime Minister Ovik Abramyan said in a statement released late on Sunday.

"Today, forces whose real goal is not the problem of electricity tariff increase but the instigation of instability in the country and prompting our citizens towards confrontation appeared in Marshal Bagramian Avenue," he said. "These people are focusing not on social or economic problems but on inarticulate and unpromising ambitions."

He once again reiterated the authorities’ readiness to solve the problem through dialogue and called on people continuing the rally against the electricity price hike in Marshal Bagramian Avenue to refrain from anti-constitutional actions. He said "any provocations against the police are inadmissible." "Law enforcers are serving our country and our city and deserve bigger respect," he stressed.

In the meantime, confrontation continues between radically-minded protesters and police in Bagramian Avenue. A number of Armenian lawmakers are standing in a live wall between the protesters and the police in a bid to prevent possible clashes.

At the same time, about 1,000 protesters are holding a rally on the Freedom Square in front of the opera theatre after Vaghinak Shushanyan, a leader of the Say No To Robbery! movement, called on people to unblock Marshal Bagramian Avenue and continue the rally on the Freedom Square.

 A young man who called for armed confrontation was detained in downtown Yerevan amid ongoing rallies of protest against electricity tariff increase, a spokesman for the Armenian police said.

"At about 23:50 local time (22:50 Moscow time), protesters on Yerevan’s Freedom Square and policemen detained a young man who called for an armed confrontation. The man resisted his arrest," the spokesman said. The man was identified as Aram Akopyan, 22. An investigation was launched.

President Sargsyan pledged on Saturday Armenia's government "will shoulder the burden of power tariff increases" until the end of auditing of the Armenian Power Grids distribution company. He also did not rule out that after the audit the company could be nationalized.

On June 17, 2015, the Commission for Public Services and Utilities partially endorsed a request by the Armenian Power Grids electricity distributor, which is a subsidiary of Russia’s INTER RAO UES Corporation, to raise the tariffs for electricity by 16%

The first action of protest took place in central Yerevan on the same day. Its organizers felt apprehensive of a sweeping growth of commodity prices and service tariffs, which the hike of electricity fees might trigger. On June 19, similar actions took place in other cities. On June 23, the police used force while dispersing a demonstration in the capital. A total of eighteen people, including eleven police officers, were injured and 237 were detained but released soon afterwards. On June 25, Prime Minister Ovik Abramian made public the government’s decision to pay out compensations to low-income families but actions of protest in Yerevan and other cities continued in spite of the announced compensative measures.

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