The president of Armenia has suspended hikes in household electricity rates in an effort to end the protests that have blocked the capital's main avenue for six straight days.

President Serzh Sargsyan announced on Saturday that the government of the former Soviet nation would bear the burden of the higher electricity costs until an audit of the Russian-owned power company could be completed.

It was not yet clear whether the announcement would persuade the demonstrators to disperse.

Thousands of protesters have blocked Yerevan's main avenue since Monday, their numbers steadily increasing throughout the week. In recent days, the protest has looked more like a street party, with the mostly young demonstrators dancing and singing national songs.

Armenia is closely allied with Russia, where the protests have caused great concern.