June 24, 2015 - 12:17 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Thousands of demonstrators protesting against electricity price hike in Armenia spent the night of June 24 at Baghramyan Avenue, with the police making no attempt to disperse the crowd. The picketers, in turn, used garbage cans to build a kind of a barricade.
Show business representatives and MPs from different political parties, including the ruling Republican Party visited the scene and stood in a living wall between the protesters and police cordons in order to avoid violence. Minister of Education Armen Ashotyan later arrived at Baghramyan Avenue.
Armenian law-enforcement authorities rely on parliament deputies to mediate, Chief of Police of Yerevan, Major-General Ashot Karapetyan said, according to Novosti-Armenia. "We hope that the deputies will persuade the protesters to open the driveway. We’re holding negotiations and hope to succeed," he said.
Karapetyan also noted that at the moment the police are showing tolerance, but unless the Avenue is unblocked, offenders will be brought to justice.
Deputy Chief of Police Hunan Poghosyan stated, in turn, that they will not intervene in protesters’ activities, as long as the rally is peaceful.
At night, the protesters demanded that President Serzh Sargsyan abolish the Regulatory Commission’s decision on energy price hike.
"We are not hooligans, we understand the legitimacy of our demands," a coordination group member said.
In addition, the demonstrators also called for holding protests and sit-ins in all cities and villages of Armenia, following the lead of the second largest city of the republic, Gyumri, where a sit-in recently kicked off.