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Situation tense in Yerevan after armed attack on police unit

July 17, 18:53 UTC+3 YEREVAN
Police and other law-enforcers are continuing negotiations with the insurgents
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© Varo Rafayelyan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, July 17. /TASS/. The situation in Yerevan where armed persons have seized a police unit remains tense. Police and other law-enforcers are continuing negotiations with the insurgents, a TASS correspondent reports from the scene.

According to local police, about 30 radical opposition supporters riding a Kraz truck rammed into the gates of the Armenian patrol and inspection police regiment in Yerevan at about 05:00 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT) on Sunday and burst into the regiment’s territory.

As a result of the shootout, there are persons injured from both sides.

The armed persons took hostage both the patrol and inspection police personnel and police officials who had arrived at the scene for negotiations.

According to some data, the attackers are holding captive Armenian Police Deputy Chief Major-General Vartan Yegiazaryan.

The insurgents are demanding that the authorities should release oppositionist Zhirair Sefilyan who was arrested in June on suspicion of organizing an armed group that had been preparing the seizure of the Yerevan TV Center and other important facilities.

The area around the police unit has been sealed off by police and special forces. Armored vehicles, a water cannon and other special vehicles have arrived at the scene.

А meeting with top officers of the country’s law enforcement agencies

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Sunday had a meeting with top officers of the country’s law enforcement agencies to discuss the situation in Yerevan.

"The president was informed about details of the situation that has emerged as a result of an armed incident that took place in the capital city in the morning and about the measures taken by law enforcers," the presidential press service said.

"It was stressed that police are in full control of the situation and are taking all necessary measures to settle the situation," the press service said.

Some Armenian politicians have denounced the insurgents’ actions. Former Armenian Security Service Chief (1994-1995) and now opposition figure David Shakhnazaryan has said that "such acts are ineffective for the expression of protest."

‘We’ll be hoping that there won’t be a new bloodshed [the armed attack on the police regiment on Sunday morning left one policeman dead and several others wounded] because this may become a heavy blow for Armenia," Shakhnazaryan said.

"The incident should be resolved by peaceful means," the oppositionist said.

"The actions by the armed group are a terrorist act against the Armenian people, against Armenian statehood," former Armenian Defense Minister (1999-2000) Vagarshak Arutyunyan said.

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