The political team running the current Armenian government has voiced its ‘unequivocal’ support for the process of dismantling illegally constructed cafes around the Opera House in Yerevan that was designed to remain as a green area, according to Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian.
The dismantling of first two cafes in the area began last week amid protests from dozens of owners and employees of the commercial facilities.
A number of activists also came to nearby Liberty Square to show their support for the decision of the Yerevan authorities and Mayor Hayk Marutian.
Marutian, who represents the ruling Civil Contract party of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and whose team polled more than 80 percent of the vote in last year’s municipal elections, stated last week that the green zone around the Opera House, one of the landmark buildings in central Yerevan, should not be overburdened with commercial property. He insisted that a vast majority of Yerevan residents support the decision that was part of his team’s election platform.
Avinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday that the Yerevan authorities enjoy the backing of the central government in this matter. “This is a common decision of our political team. And I think that the public response is also very adequate and I’m sure that such a policy should be continued by the municipality because it concerns the very center of Yerevan, the capital of the Republic of Armenia,” the vice-premier said.
Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service late last week Pashinian’s spokesperson Vladimir Karapetian also said that the prime minister had voiced his “support and solidarity” to Mayor Marutian in this matter.