Energy protests continue
Armenia’s premier has rejected demonstrators’ demand to annul a hike in electricity prices, a stance that signals no end in sight for the worst unrest the former Soviet nation has seen in years.
Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said at a Cabinet meeting that the protesters, which swelled to more than 10,000 as the heat abated in the evening, are violating the constitution and won’t succeed in bending the government’s will. He said the government could offer compensations to the poor to help cushion the price increase.
His comments came as thousands of protesters continued their round- the- clock blockade of the main avenue in Yerevan, the capital, for a fourth straight day and demanded that President Serzh Sargsyan cancel the price hike.
The 17% price hike has been approved by the government’s regulatory panel after a request by the nation’s power grid, Electric Networks of Armenia, which is controlled by Russia’s electricity giant RAO United Energy Systems.