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Armenian demonstrators still blocking road as protest against electricity hikes enters day 3

  • Armenian protesters wave a national flag during a protest rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan against a hike in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Several thousand demonstrators marched toward the presidential residence in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest a hike in electricity prices, renewing their demonstration in even greater numbers after riot police used water cannons to forcefully disperse them earlier in the day. (Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP)

    Armenian protesters wave a national flag during a protest rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan against a hike in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Several thousand demonstrators marched toward the presidential residence in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest a hike in electricity prices, renewing their demonstration in even greater numbers after riot police used water cannons to forcefully disperse them earlier in the day. (Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Armenian protesters shout anti-government slogans as they stand on top of barricades during a protest rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan against a hike in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Several thousand demonstrators marched toward the presidential residence in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest a hike in electricity prices, renewing their demonstration in even greater numbers after riot police used water cannons to forcefully disperse them earlier in the day. (Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP)

    Armenian protesters shout anti-government slogans as they stand on top of barricades during a protest rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan against a hike in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Several thousand demonstrators marched toward the presidential residence in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest a hike in electricity prices, renewing their demonstration in even greater numbers after riot police used water cannons to forcefully disperse them earlier in the day. (Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • An Armenian protester waves a national flag during a protest rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan against a hike in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Several thousand demonstrators marched toward the presidential residence in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest a hike in electricity prices, renewing their demonstration in even greater numbers after riot police used water cannons to forcefully disperse them earlier in the day. (Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP)

    An Armenian protester waves a national flag during a protest rally in the Armenian capital of Yerevan against a hike in electricity prices in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Several thousand demonstrators marched toward the presidential residence in the Armenian capital on Tuesday to protest a hike in electricity prices, renewing their demonstration in even greater numbers after riot police used water cannons to forcefully disperse them earlier in the day. (Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A standoff between riot police and demonstrators protesting a hike in electricity prices is blocking the central avenue in the Armenia capital for the third day running.

An estimated 7,000 protesters joined a second attempt to march toward the presidential residence in Yerevan on Tuesday evening, but were blocked by police. Some of the protesters spent the night behind a row of large trash containers they had placed across the road as a barricade.

Yerevan police chief Ashot Karapetyan appealed to the protesters on Wednesday morning to disperse peacefully.

The unrest is the most serious that Armenia has seen in years, raising concerns about political stability in the impoverished former Soviet nation, which has become increasingly dependent on Russia in recent years.