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Total of 51 injured in Yerevan clashes on Wednesday evening, some 140 detained

July 21, 2016, 12:21 UTC+3 YEREVAN

29 police officers have sought medical assistance

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© Hrant Khachatryan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, July 21. /TASS/. A total of 51 people, including 29 policemen, were injured in clashes between the policemen and protesters in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Wednesday evening, 140 protesters were detained.

According to a statement released by the Armenian police press service on Thursday, "136 citizens have been taken to a police station."

Armenian health minister’s press secretary Anait Aitayan said for her part that "51 citizens, including 29 police officers have sought medical assistance at medical establishments" in Yerevan. "Fifteen of them got outpatient medical aid," and 34 of the injured are undergoing treatment at various medical centers and hospitals of Yerevan, she added.

The Armenian government gathered for a regular meeting on Thursday to discuss Wednesday’s dramatic events, the government staff sources told TASS.

On Wednesday evening, clashes between demonstrators and the police occurred. The opposition activists were throwing stones at the law enforcers, and policemen used smoke and stun grenades, tear gas against the protesters.

"Several journalists have been injured" in the clashes, Armenian Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan said in a statement issued on Thursday. According to him, this fact "deserves strong condemnation, not only as a manifestation of violence in general, but also as an extremely negative phenomenon from the viewpoint of obstructing professional activity of media personnel." The Ombudsman said that it is "a criminal offense, regardless of who committed it - a government official or a citizen who participated in the rally".

The situation in Yerevan is calm now. Movses Khorenatsi Street, where the clashes took place, has been cleaned up and washed by street cleansing machines.

A group of about 30 armed opposition supporters broke into the territory of a police regiment in Yerevan, Armenia, in the small hours on July 17 having rammed its gates in a truck. In the ensuing shootout, deputy commander of the squad Colonel Artur Vanoyan was killed, while some of the attackers and some policemen suffering injuries.

In the chaos that followed, the assailants managed to abduct police officers and law enforcement officials who arrived at the scene for negotiations. Among those taken hostage are two senior police officials, Major General Vartan Yegiazaryan, Armenia’s deputy police chief, and Colonel Valery Osipyan, Yerevan’s deputy police chief. Several hostages have been reportedly released.

For several days, the opposition activists have been rallying near the police regiment quarters, demanding from the authorities not to undertake a military operation to free the hostages and neutralize the armed group.

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