Facing rows of police, the demonstrators whistled, clapped and chanted on the city’s central Liberty Square to condemn the government’s strong-arm response to their overnight sit-in against a 16-percent increase in electricity prices.
The renewed protests challenge the administration of President Serzh Sargsyan, long familiar with large-scale protests, to come up with a ready solution to the price problem. The website for the Armenian police was disabled earlier in the day in what some viewed as a hacker attack.
Regulators, however, continue to insist that the 16-percent electricity price increase, scheduled for August 1, is unavoidable. The power grid, like much of is Armenia’s energy supply, is owned and operated by a Russian company.
Perhaps with that connection in mind, some Russian media outlets have been quick to label the Yerevan demonstrations “Energy Maidan.”