Police warn youth activists as bus fare hike protests continue in Yerevan

Police warn youth activists as bus fare hike protests continue in Yerevan


The Armenian police have issued a statement warning youth activists to abide by the law in conducting their daily protests against the recent rise in bus fare rates in Yerevan.

The law-enforcement agency said the protests first launched on Saturday when the 50-percent increase in public transport fares became effective in the capital could not be viewed as spontaneous anymore and since they attract several hundred people, they can no longer be held without proper notification.

“We again warn participants in such gatherings to refrain from violating the law,” said the police, noting that in the past few days some of the protesters have violated traffic rules, restricted the movement of public transport as well as obstructed the work of the police aimed at maintaining public order.

Four activists were briefly detained on Tuesday and were taken to the Kentronakan Police Department in Yerevan for allegedly breaking law during the protest action near the municipality building. All of them were released later that day. Opposition MPs Nikol Pashinyan and Zaruhi Postanjyan were reportedly in contact with the police over the matter as youth activists gathered near the police office to demand the release of their comrades.

More civil protests against the controversial decision of the city authorities are expected to be staged in Yerevan on Wednesday.

While major opposition political parties have backed the kind of reaction of the public to the bus fare hike, the ruling party has urged young activists to mind the broader concerns of the country and stop destabilizing the situation in Armenia.

Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia Razmik Zohrabyan claimed on Tuesday that the protests might have been orchestrated from outside. In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service he, in particular, said: “For some reason these young people do not think that a dirty trick is being played on Armenia.”