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Armenia: Can a Bus Boycott Lead to Shift in the Political Dynamic?

Protestors take to the streets in Yerevan over bus fare hikes. (Photo: Marianna Grigoryan)

It was a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, back in 1955 that catalyzed the civil rights movement in the United States. These days in Armenia, some observers believe a recent bus boycott in Yerevan may reinvigorate the country’s democratization process.

The Yerevan public transport boycott started July 20, after the city government decided to raise transportation fares in Armenia’s capital city by at least 50 percent – a move that many saw as benefiting private companies with perceived ties to pro-government politicians. Hundreds of protesters, mostly young people, took to the streets to express their anger, boycotting public transportation and standing at bus stops with posters that demanded the city government reinstate the former 100-dram (about 25 cents) fare. To support the campaign, some celebrities also started a carpooling campaign that offered free rides to people all over the city.

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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.

Armenia: Can a Bus Boycott Lead to Shift in the Political Dynamic?

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