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YEREVAN. – Armenian police said 19 people have been detained downtown Yerevan as demonstrators protested  against dismantling of cafes.

However, all 19 have been released, police said in a statement.

The situation near Opera House remained tense during the day, as there are repeated clashes between police and demonstrators. Later the dismantling of cafes was halted.

As a result of the clashes, one policeman and one demonstrator were hospitalized.

Yerevan Municipality had issued a statement with respect to its plan to restore the green space around Liberty Square. Accordingly, businesses that had leased these areas that are the property of the city and built cafés there have received a notification from the city hall proposing that they give up part of these areas they have leased.

This proposal, however, has infuriated the proprietors of these cafés. They are staging protests and attempting to obstruct their cafés’ dismantling, which started Thursday morning.

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