On 6 July at noon, the police forced protestors, who for the last two weeks had taken to the streets to voice their opposition to the electricity price rise, out of Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan.
(YEREVAN) The police attacked the protestors when they refused to leave the avenue. 45 protestors were detained by force. Barricades erected by the resistance were dismantled by the police.
The movement had recently lost its initial spark, and differences of opinion and a lack of plan were named as reasons. Nevertheless, protestors have said that they will return stronger with a new wave of resistance.
Galstyan: I admire the young protestors, but they lack experience
Dashnaktsutyun Party member and former MP Lilit Galstyan is among those who believe that the movement was political from the start, but lacked experience: “How can one describe a movement that has erected barricades for 2 weeks, and was triggered by a socio-economic issue not be political? I am not pessimistic; the protestors remained there day and night for two weeks, at temperatures reaching 40 degrees in the daytime, but they are inexperienced. The President offered them talks and they refused; they did not see that this offer was a success and an opportunity to legitimize their movement.” Galstyan also underlined the fact that blocking an avenue would not suffice to bring about political change.
“I face 8 lawsuits, but I will continue to protest”
A familiar face at opposition rallies in Yerevan, researcher Argishti Kiviryan was also detained. Kiviryan stated that the movement should continue, and that this should definitely be done on Baghramyan Avenue. Speaking after his release, Kiviryan said, “I am not surprised they have filed a lawsuit against me, I already face 8 lawsuits. It makes no difference to me, I will continue to protest, they should not underestimate the street movement.”
Vaginak Shushanyan of Voch Talanin (“No To Plunder”), on the other hand, said that he himself had not suffered violence in detention, but that he had witnessed police attacking two of his friends in a police vehicle, and punching them. Shushanyan added that he would be filing a lawsuit against the police for their brutality on June 23, and that this use of force by the police was against the law.
Although the city seems to have settled down after 2 weeks of protest, a small group of around 100 people continues to protest in Opera Square. It appears that the capital will experience a long, hot summer of protest.