A general strike left the Armenian capital of Yerevan crippled for a fourth straight day Thursday following a battle between Soviet troops and nationalist demonstrators at the city's airport that left at least 36 people injured, Armenian journalists said.

Reporters for the two official government newspapers in Yerevan said about 3,000 people attended a downtown rally early Thursday in central Theater Square as the city ground to a halt because of the walkout.

Police, fearful of rising violence after the airport incident on Tuesday, had earlier sealed off the square to prevent mass demonstrations but apparently lifted the ban today to permit local politicians to address the crowd.

The two reporters, who work for the Kommunist and Sovetskaya Armenian newspapers, said today's rally went off without incident.