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Street protests against electricity prices continue in Armenia’s Yerevan for ninth day

July 01, 2015, 8:51 UTC+3 YEREVAN
The rally was largely peaceful overnight, although some brief tensions were reported
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© Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, July 1. /TASS/. Mass demonstrations against an increase in electricity tariffs have been held on the central Marshal Baghramyan Avenue, in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, for a ninth day in a row.

The rally was largely peaceful overnight, although some brief tensions were reported.

The protesters have been split into two groups: one of them insists on the indefinite protest, while the other prefers to hold dialogue with the Armenian authorities.

The most radical activists call for "fighting to the end" and urge punishment for the country’s law enforcers who dispersed the rally on June 23.

As a result, the rally has no coordinators, and people have started acting disorderly.

The police effort to convince the protesters to remove the barricades and unblock the main road of the city has been unsuccessful so far.

On Tuesday, Armenia’s parliament speaker Galust Saakayan told the demonstrators to act in line with the law. He called on them to "shift from struggle to dialogue and cooperation."

The riots erupted after the state regulatory commission had agreed to raise public electricity tariffs by 16% at a meeting on June 17 upon the request of national electricity company Electric Networks of Armenia. The same day the protest began in downtown Yerevan. Similar protests were held in other major cities in Armenia on June 19.

The country’s opposition later took advantage of the situation and forced people into streets, what resulted in the dispersal of the Yerevan protests by police on June 23. As a result, 18 people, including 11 police officers, were hurt, and 237 people were detained but later released.

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