Armed Men Storm Yerevan Police Station, Take Hostages
A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL's Armenian Service
A group of armed men from an opposition group stormed a district police headquarters and exchanged gunfire with police in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, early in the morning on July 17, the National Security Service said in a statement.
The statement said the attackers are holding several hostages in the Erebuni police station, adding that “negotiations are under way to release them peacefully.”
The opposition group Founding Parliament issued a statement demanding the release of the group’s leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, who was arrested last month on charges of seeking to overthrow the government by force.
Varuzhan Avetisian, a spokesman for the group, has also announced that "they are starting a rebellion" and an attempt to “overthrow the government” and “release political prisoners.”
Police have cordoned off the area.
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Meanwhile, opposition lawmaker and outspoken government critic Nikol Pashinyan visited the police station and spoke with the attackers.
Pashinyan, the leader of the newly established Civic Agreement opposition party, said one of the attackers inside the police station was critically wounded in the head.
He also said a policeman, who was feeling unwell, has been released by the hostage-takers.
The Founding Parliament group frequently stages street protests in Yerevan, demanding the resignation of President Serzh Sarkisian.
The group is particularly critical of the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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