PROTESTS against electricity price rises in the Armenian capital Yerevan entered their third day yesterday, drawing comparisons with “colour revolutions” in other former Soviet republics.
President Serge Sarkisian has offered to meet with representatives of the protesters, but they have refused to negotiate, demanding instead that he announce on television that the price rises will be scrapped.
Riot police dispersed an overnight sit-in protest on Yerevan’s central avenue on Tuesday morning with water cannon.
A second protest of 7,000 people on Tuesday evening also ended in a sit-in, but police had not yet attempted to break up the demonstration at press time.
Around 400 demonstrators sheltered under umbrellas and trees from 40° heat, ignoring police appeals to disperse.
Ukrainian media have likened the demonstrations to the Maidan protests in Kiev last year that led to a far-right-backed coup against the government.
Armenian political scientist Hrant Melik-Shahnazaryan told Russian state news website Sputnik: “It is quite obvious that the forces in Ukraine seek to colour the protests in the way which would be most advantageous for them to see.”
Russia has a military base in Armenia and Russian companies control some of the country’s most prized economic assets, including the power grid.
“Armenia is our closest partner, we share historical ties with Armenia and the Armenian people,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday.
“We hope that in the near future, this situation will be resolved in strict accordance with the law.”