YEREVAN, August 3. /ARKA/. In comments on renewed public protests against a controversial plan of a parliament member Samvel Alexanian to redesign a marketplace in downtown Yerevan known as Pak Shuka (Covered Marketplace) into a supermarket, the head of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia parliamentary faction Galust Sahakyan called for a careful examination of all related developments.
The marketplace built in central Yerevan in the 1950s, has been one of the city’s landmarks and was included on the Armenian Culture Ministry’s list of historical buildings that cannot be redesigned without government permission.
Aleksanian began demolishing the building’s arched roof in May last year shortly after acquiring the market, reportedly without securing the ministry’s permission.
The plan caused strong public outcry. Dozens of young activists began protests outside the construction site last week and promised to resume it from September 7 ‘to prevent it from being turned into another supermarket.’
Alexanian would deny allegations that he wanted to turn the marketplace into a supermarket saying it will continue to serve as a marketplace for farmers and small traders selling fruits and vegetables.
Speaking at a news conference today Galust Sahakian described young activists’ enthusiasm as ‘a positive factor,’ but added, “before to make conclusions one should look deep into the situation and if a crime was committed it must be punished. If illegal construction is being carried out in the market’s territory the people responsible for it must be called to account.’ --0-