Update from Yerevan

A month after  the successful protest actions against public transport fare hike, there are still ongoing demonstrations in Yerevan and the situation seems to escalate the last couple of days.

Firstly, there is a sit-in strike in front of the Municipality Hall demanding dismission of two officials: Henrik Navasardyan (the Head of Yerevan Municipality Transport Department) and Misak Hambardzumyan (the Director of Yerevantrans CJSC). Then, lately these activists (most of them are youngsters) also joined the residents of Komitas Street 5, who protest against the construction of a new “elite” flat building.

Yesterday protesters managed to block the street for a while. What happened after that is difficult to describe. The police arrested 26 activists. One of them was severely beaten in the police car on its way to the police station.

A couple of hours later, another 16 activists were arrested, this time in front of the Municipality Hall. This rather small group of activists intended to perform a  play called “Story of a Public transportation fare hike” (where they would mock on Taron Marhargan, Henrik Navasardyan and Misak Hambardzumyan).

As I was there and have seen the scene, I think the police acted quit fiercely (they immediately started to arrest the activists after some of them tried to get on the stairs in front of the doorway of the Municipality Hall). A girl was arrested only because she played on her drum.

Later that night 2 of the activists were beaten by a group of strangers.

The very same day the police released a  statement warning that they are going to use “special measures” against activists who “disturb public order”.

Meanwhile activists have called the arrests a “mass repression”. Several activists call to prepare against the “special measures” of the police.