mercredi 16 septembre 2015

Erevan : répression policière contre une nouvelle manifestation

in English
Police Clear Yerevan Street Of Protesters

Sisak Gabrielian

Հրապարակված է՝ 12.09.2015

In a quick pre-dawn operation, riot police dispersed on Saturday youth activists blocking a major street in central Yerevan to demand that the Armenian authorities formally annul a recent rise in electricity prices.

Police units cleared Marshal Bagramian Avenue 30 minutes after the expiry of a police ultimatum that was issued to the protesters late on Friday. The national police service said the protest is illegal and can therefore be broken up.

Colonel Valery Osipian, a deputy chief of Yerevan’s police department, reiterated this warning before security forces swept aside several dozen activists who remained at the blocked section of the avenue early in the morning. They did not use batons, water cannons or other riot gear.

“Policemen, stay calm,” Osipian repeatedly shouted through a megaphone as his officers dragged away activists.

Most of the protesters appeared to be detained on the spot. Those included leaders of the No To Plunder movement that resumed this month its vocal campaign against the more than 17 percent electricity price rise.

Rima Sargsian was apparently the only No To Plunder leader to avoid arrest. She condemned the police actions.

Several protesters suffered minor injuries during the crackdown.
Ambulance cars were on hand to provide them with first medical assistance.

Traffic through the avenue resumed moments later, after a police water cannon washed the site of the overnight protest.

The same street section was the scene of bigger nonstop protests against the price hike in late June. They forced President Serzh Sarkisian to promise that his government will subsidize the tariffs pending an international audit of Armenia’s loss-making power distribution network.

No To Plunder decided to resume protests after the government made clear last month that the subsidy will apply only to households and some small businesses.
Source :

Electric Yerevan, Part Two?
September 14, 2015 - 9:41am, by Giorgi Lomsadze

A fresh scuffle between police and demonstrators in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, suggests that widespread complaints about officials' handling of a 16.5-percent increase in electricity prices could still have legs.

The latest rally, scattered by police on September 12, did not boast the numbers comparable to the “high-voltage rallies,” a series of sit-ins in the city center in June known as Electric Yerevan. It was a much smaller crowd, made up mainly of activists from the No to Plunder group, which claims that the government, counter to its earlier promises, has not entirely covered the cost of the higher power prices.

Most businesses, the group alleges, have been left out.

At first glance, to many outsiders, paying roughly ten cents (48.78 drams) per kilowatt hour of daytime energy use may not seem high. But protesters claim the real issue relates to the practice of officials handing out special favors for the government's corporate chums -- a longtime complaint in Armenia. The government, they charge, always covers up accordingly.

No to Plunder has demanded that the new prices, seen as the result of government collusion with the Russian-owned Electricity Networks of Armenia (ENA), be scrapped entirely. “We will go to the end,” the protesters told Interfax.

After demonstrators failed to disperse by dawn on September 12, police intervened, arresting 48. They have since been released.

The last time police attempted a protest-cleanup, during this June's Electric Yerevan, it only boomeranged back against the government, and even put Armenia’s big brother, Russia, on tenterhooks over what it perceived as another Maidan-style revolution in the making.

Both the government and protesters worked hard to make sure that anger with the Russian-owned electricity grid did not escalate into protests against Russia, its main military ally which supplies most of the country’s energy and much of its trade.

As the protest tensions petered out and the vacation season kicked in, the situation for both the government and ENA calmed.

Talk of penalizing ENA for not connecting clients to its grid as agreed tapered off in August after Armenia's regulatory commission voted against fining the company.

It also transpired that the auditor chosen to review the Armenian regulatory commission, the Moscow-based Deloitte & Touche CIS, itself has ENA’s owner, Inter RAO UES, as a client.

For now, the state subsidy for power prices has helped the government to keep things calm among ordinary Armenians. But the money for the subsidy, allegedly taken come from the sale of a large hydropower complex, will not last for long. Nor does Armenia’s ailing economy help matters.

Electric Yerevan left many Armenians with a sense that they can get officials to do at least some of their bidding — the question is whether or not another attempt will now be made.
Source :

Voir également : Erevan : la police arménienne réprime violemment les manifestants et les journalistes
Erevan : vives protestations contre l'augmentation du prix de l'électricité

Le gouvernement français semble soutenir la répression en cours en Arménie