“Aravot” says ongoing street protests against a sharp rise in transport fares in Yerevan are justified because the municipal authorities never clearly substantiated the measure. The paper criticizes the city’s Council of Elders controlled by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) for not examining “that questionable decision.” “If all bus routes in Yerevan were loss-making why are they controlled by deputies, generals and government and municipal officials?” it asks.
“Orakarg” predicts that President Serzh Sarkisian will tell Yerevan Mayor Taron Markarian to reverse the price hike just like he ordered the removal of new kiosks from a municipal park following angry protests two years ago. The paper also claims that personal self-interests of senior government officials is what led the municipality to raise the bus fares by 50 percent.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the authorities do not know how to respond to the mounting civic campaign against the higher bus fares which “already contains clear elements of a social revolt.” “The only solution that fits into the authorities’ mindset is use of force, violence, criminal cases and arrests,” writes the paper. “But yesterday police actions produced an opposite effect. As hundreds of people gathered outside the Kentron [district] police and waited for the release of their comrades for several hours many other groups continued their actions in the capital, urging bus riders to keep paying 100 drams.”
“Zhamanak” says the authorities’ response to the protests testifies to “the absence of elementary adequacy” among government officials, including President Sarkisian. The paper believes that the protests also demonstrate the seeming “calm” in Armenia is very deceptive and can turn into turbulence at any moment.
Lragir.am says the authorities are not even trying to disguise their “theft and plunder” anymore. “In all senses, the transport fare is a state and public crime that must be investigated by law-enforcement bodies,” claims the online publication. It calls continuing protests in Yerevan a “miracle.” “People are not complying with illegal [government] decisions and are prepared for mutual assistance and disobedience,” it says. “And this is involving creative manifestations. This will save Yerevan and Armenia.”