Armenian demonstrators to decide whether to halt weeklong protest against electricity hikes

Demonstrators protesting higher household electricity rates are blocking the Armenian capital's main avenue for a seventh straight day, but they plan to decide Sunday evening whether to call a halt to their protest after the president promised to suspend the rate hikes.

President Serzh Sargsyan announced late Saturday that the government would bear the burden of the higher electricity costs until an international audit of the power company could be done. The protesters claim the Russian-owned utility is riddled with corruption.

Protest organizer Vaghinak Shushanian said Sunday the demonstrators could claim success in battle, if not a complete victory, and it made sense for them to take a break. But he said the decision on whether to halt the protest would be made by the demonstrators in the evening.