Energy protests con­tinue

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD -

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.

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