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YEREVAN, July 3. /TASS/. Armenia’s Special Investigation Service has opened a criminal case on Friday into the instances of violence against citizens and journalists during the dispersal of protests over a hike in electricity prices in Yerevan on June 23, the service’s spokesman told TASS.
He noted that the Special Investigation Service had studied media reports, video and audio recordings of "special measures taken since June 23 to discontinue the march and later — the sit-in protest on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan."
According to investigators, security forces "have used violence against the protesters and several reporters covering the events, damaged or destroyed their video and audio equipment." "By doing so they hindered the legitimate professional activities, violated the rights and legitimate interests of individuals and organizations, society and the state," the Special Investigation Service said.
The protests 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 protests have continued for more than a week now. On Wednesday, two activists began a hunger strike, but on Thursday they were taken to hospital due to poor health condition.