Riot police guarded the entrances to the main state-run universities in Yerevan on Wednesday as over 100 students and other young people demonstrated against official results of the Armenian presidential election for a third consecutive day.
The youths supporting opposition presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian began rallying on Monday outside those universities and urging students to boycott classes in support of a rerun of what they call a rigged election.
Security in and outside the campuses has been tight since then, with university administrations apparently trying to prevent students from joining the protests. The protesters have also been confronted by leaders of student councils loyal to the Armenian government.
One such confrontation led to scuffles between the protesters and pro-government vigilantes outside Yerevan State University (YSU) on Wednesday morning. Riot police at the scene stepped in to prevent more serious violence.
The protesters also faced several dozen loyalist at the main entrance to the State Agricultural Academy shortly afterwards. The latter chanted “Leave! Leave!”
University officials also denounced the boycott calls. They said students are free to attend opposition gatherings after classes. Some of them also accused the opposition of trying to use students for political aims.
“We are dealing with professional demonstrators,” charged Ruben Martirosian, an YSU prorector. “You can find only one or two students among them.”