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Attackers seizing Yerevan’s police building refuse to surrender

18 July 2016 12:04 (UTC+04:00)
Attackers seizing Yerevan’s police building refuse to surrender

By Rashid Shirinov

A group of armed persons, who captured the regiment of a police patrol department in Erebuni district of Yerevan and took hostage its police officers on July 17, still refuse to give up the hostages, RIA Novosti reported.

One person was killed and three wounded as the armed group seized a police station in Yerevan. Seven hostages, including the deputy chief of Armenian police major-General Vardan Yeghiazaryan and the deputy chief of Yerevan police, Colonel Valeri Osipyan, are still being held by the attackers.

The attackers demand the release of Armenian opposition figure Jirair Sefilyan, who was detained after authorities allegedly uncovered a plot to seize several buildings and telecommunication facilities in Yerevan.

Last October, Serfilyan and his opposition movement, “New Armenia,” announced that they would launch a “process of the civil disobedience and change of power”. Then he was arrested but released shortly after. He was again arrested this June.

They also demand resignation of President Serzh Sagrsyan, calling on Armenians to support them. The group released a video on Facebook, calling on Armenians to take to the streets against the government.

Inspired by the attack, some activists tried to organize a protest at the Freedom square in Yerevan , however, they were quickly taken to police stations.

The country’s authorities called the attackers “terrorists”, noting that their demands cannot be realized.

Following the capture, the Armenian police detained some 200 people to check them for relationship with the attackers.

The Armenian opposition party “Heritage” considers that the Armenian authorities are to blame for the armed attack. “Not allowing to solve the problems of the country through the electoral process and in the framework of the law, the authorities follows path of lawlessness and violence,” the party claims.

Sargsyan has been president of Armenia since winning a vote in 2008 that was followed by violent clashes between police and supporters of the defeated opposition candidate in which 10 people died.

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Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov

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