Armenian protesters still defying police orders to disperse and end weeklong demonstration

Associated Press

A couple of hundred demonstrators remain on a central avenue in Armenia's capital, defying police orders to disperse and end their weeklong protest against higher electricity rates.

The unrest is the most serious that the impoverished former Soviet nation has seen in years.

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After the Armenian president promised to suspend the rate hikes by the Russian-owned power company, riot police came out in force late Sunday and ordered the protesters to disperse.

About 2,000 of them went peacefully, but several thousand others refused and the mood was tense. The police, however, did not move against the protesters and thousands stayed through the night.

On Monday morning, as usual, a smaller number remained. They refused a police request to remove a barricade of trash containers placed across the road.