Fare Hike Protesters Issue Demands

Young protesters and police clash in Yerevan

YEREVAN—Riot police clashed with youth activists and detained several of them on Tuesday amid continuing protests against a more than 50 percent surge in the price of public transport in Yerevan, RFE/RL’s Armenian service reports.

Chanting “We are the masters of our country!” the protesters broke through a police cordon and approached the sprawling building in the city center. Riot police at the scene regrouped to prevent them from entering the building.

The protesters in Yerevan issued an official statement demanding to the government to adhere to the laws of the Constitution.

“We do not accept the anti-social and anti-democratic decision of the Yerevan City Hall, to raise public transport fares to 150 drams (a 50% increase). This decision violates the spirit and letter of Article 1 of the Constitution, which states that The Republic of Armenia is a social democratic republic. This decision directly increases injustice and inequality in our society,” the statement insists.

The statement accused the Yerevan city government of not adhering to its principles of public participation, stating, “There have not been any public hearings on this issue. Instead, the details of the decision were barely announced two days before its enforcement. Moreover, the decision making process has not included any of its stakeholders: the drivers, the passengers, socially vulnerable groups, and civil society representatives.”

The protesters accuse the city government of acting in the interest of private parties and failing to “fulfill its most basic role as the protector of the public interest.”

The statement explains that the first goal of the protests is the immediate and full reversal of the price hikes, before laying out the movement’s long-term goals, which, according to the statement, include a complete nationalization of the public transit system of Yerevan, a publication of the list of private companies which own Yerevan’s transit networks, and, until nationalization, stricter regulations on transportation companies with enforcement of better working conditions for their employees.

According to Armenpress, in response to the previous days’ events, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan made a statement to the mayor of Yerevan, Taron Margaryan, questioning his decision making process in raising transportation fares.

“The decision to increase public transportation fares is unacceptable without a proper public discussion, but it is more condemnable when such an increase is made with rough violations of the law,” Andreasyan said, adding, “We are certain that if the increase in fares was made with legal violations, the guilty must not only be punished, but also be made to materially compensate our compatriots for the additional money paid since July 20.”

More protests are expected to be staged in Yerevan in the course of the week, with some opposition parties rallying behind the movement.

The ruling Republican government in Yerevan is warning the young protesters to be careful not to destabilize the situation in Armenia, reports ArmeniaNow, while Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia Razmik Zohrabyan denounced the protests as an act orchestrated by outsiders.

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6 Comments

  1. Varujan said:

    The extent of the gangsterism of these ruling hasdavisner (thick necks) is just mind-boggling. They are sucking each and every dram that they can from the impoverished people of Armenia. I am praying that, the day that they will be forced to answer for their crimes will come much sooner than later. In the meantime, my heart is with these protesters.

  2. www.Voskanapat.info said:

    This is pathetic!!

    The action in the picture is described as “Young protesters and police clash” and the police are referred as “riot police” in the article.

    If you want to see how a “riot police clashing with young protesters” should look like, go to Youtube and search for Greece riots, Turkish Taksim clashes, or even Occupy Wall Street Oakland police…

    I think that the readers of Asbarez deserve a little more respect. Don’t treat us like fools.

    And the huge boy in front of the picture… It doesn’t look like he rides bus every day. I don’t know about Yerevan rules now but in the good ol’ days a guy like him would either have a military ID or a disability and in both cases would not need to pay a penny for his ride. Did he serve in the army or is he disabled?

    Anyway, he is asking the government of a blockaded and betrayed country to subsidize public transportation even more than it is already subsidized.

    This is in the most prosperous Armenian megalopolis where people make even more than the average country’s per capita of $5,900 (CIA 2012 numbers.)

    The difference between the new and the old price in US dollars? 13 cents! (new 37 – old 24 cents)

    And the City of Yerevan recently got hundreds of new air-conditioned buses from China. Would you pay 13 cents more to ride in a new bus equipped with WiFi compare to a 24 cent ride in the old soviet made clunker?

    • GB said:

      Every Armenian like myself has the right to be involved, even if I am a diasporan Armenian…clothing and the size of body does not matter anymore!!

      This big guy may have hundreds of relatives who are taking metro subways and buses!! He has right to demonstrate regardless of the size of his body!

      You should blame Russia’s Gazprom and Armenian oligarchs, who are screwing our innocent Armenian population and filling their pockets, with more wealth, like their predecessor Bolshevik blood suckers!!

  3. Harut said:

    What kind of democracy are we talking about….this is a criminal enterprise. People need to rise up!
    You dont here dashnaks.

  4. Angela Achikgiozian said:

    http://www.Voskanapat.info, your talks come from very warm place…Taq teghits es khosum.
    In good old days, only few could steal so much from the people without being punished severely and no one could spent so easily their stolen monies as current billioner rulers of Armenia do. No one ever has increased the price of transportation in good old days although the Ikarus buses were the most comfortable ones. The government can afford not to steal sooooo much in order to buy some buses from China without increasing the price.

  5. HArutuyn said:

    Joxovurt jan mi havatasek esi bolorovin xax er vor xaxasin giteyin vor joxovurte votki khelni u kboxoki u tens el exav , irenk entamene uzesin suys tal vor joxovrtin lsum en.

    people wake up will you this was all a game all this time just to show you ( and not me ) that there is a democracy in Armenia and we listen to the people, it should be like these
    ASK NOT WHAT THE PEOPLE CAN DO FOR THE GOVERNMENT
    BUT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ASK THE PEOPLE WHAT DO THEY NEED AND WHAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN AND WILL DO FOR THE PEOPLE.

    THIS IS BS TRYING TO CLOSE THE PEOPLES EYES WITH A 50 DRAM OF DRAMA.

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