Serj Tankian, a prominent Armenian-American rock musician, welcomed on Tuesday the dramatic street protests in Yerevan against an increase in electricity prices as a further sign of a “burgeoning” civil society in Armenia.
“Armenia's civic society is burgeoning,” he said in a Facebook post on thousands of Armenians who again took to the streets on Monday to protest against the measure.
“Previous successful campaigns at peaceful civic disobedience against unjust programs like the rate hike in public transportation have borne fruit,” wrote the outspoken lead singer of the U.S. rock band System Of A Down (SOAD).
He also said that Armenia’s Russian-owned power distribution network, the driving force behind the price hike, “should be made a state asset and strictly regulated and audited by an independent panel.”
Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian meets with U.S. rock musician Serj Tankian, Yerevan,14Aug2011.
Tankian did not comment on Tuesday’s violent dispersal of the protests and mass arrests of their participants.
Tankian has repeatedly criticized Armenian government policies in the past, most recently during a landmark SOAD concert in Yerevan’s central Republic Square in April. “It is the responsibility of the government of the Republic of Armenia to bring in the principles of egalitarian civic society, get rid of the institutional injustice around and stop the depopulation that is occurring,” he told tens of thousands of mostly young spectators.
Tankian likewise called for boosting the rule of law and combating corruption in Armenia during his previous trip to his ancestral homeland in 2011. He also deplored serious fraud that was reported during Armenia’s last presidential election held in 2013.