THE sit-in protest in Armenia’s capital Yerevan entered its ninth day yesterday, three days after the president yielded to demonstrators’ demands.
President Serzh Sargsyan pledged to freeze a 17 per cent electricity price rise on Saturday, which protest organisers No to Plunder hailed as a limited victory.
Mr Sargsyan’s pledge followed a meeting with Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov, who co-chairs a Russian-Armenian economic commission. They also agreed to an audit of the electricity company.
The transcaucasian nation’s power stations and national grid are majority owned by Russian firms.
Protest leader Vaghinak Shushanian appealed to demonstrators on the city’s central avenue to go home. About 2,000 heeded him — but another 6,000 stayed, whistling and jeering as they faced off against police.
Some chanted for “a free and independent Armenia” and waved Armenian flags.
The US embassy in Yerevan appeared to be supporting the protesters on Sunday, tweeting: “Urge all sides to display peaceful, restrained behavior befitting democratic values.” It then added the protesters’ #Electric Yerevan hashtag.
No to Plunder said those urging people to continue blocking the street may be pursuing political goals.
Last week Sputnik News columnist Andrew Korybko called the Electric Yerevan movement another Western-backed “colour revolution” like those in neighbouring Georgia and nearby Ukraine.
He pointed out that a leading figure in the protest is Nikol Pashinyan, leader of the shadowy Civic Contract movement.