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June 21 2018 | 4:51pm AET

Armed group seizes police building in Yerevan, now told to surrender

Source: Asbarez | Sunday, 17 July 2016
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Photo captures armed group entering police headquarters

Photo captures armed group entering police headquarters

YEREVAN—An armed group affiliated with the opposition “Founding Parliament,” which seized the police headquarters in the Erebuni district of the city earlier this morning, was told to surrender.

First deputy chief of the Armenian police, General Hunan Poghosian, said in a statement Sunday evening negotiations with will continue with the gunmen, who are holding several people hostage inside the building. He also identified Colonel Artur Vanoyan as the one person killed during the raid earlier this morning. He also released the names of three officers who had been critically injured: General Aram Hovhannisyan, Deputy General Hratch Khosdeghyan and Lieutenant Gagik Mkrtchyan.

General Hunan Poghosian, the first deputy chief of the Armenian police, speaks to reporters near a police building in Yerevan seized by anti-government gunmen

General Hunan Poghosian, the first deputy chief of the Armenian police, speaks to reporters near a police building in Yerevan seized by anti-government gunmen

Several others have also sustained injuries, according to Poghosian, who also confirmed that Deputy Police Chief Valery Osipyan is among the hostages. Osipyan became the public face of the authorities last year during an almost two-week standoff at the presidential palace where demonstrators were demanding the decrease of energy prices and became known as the Electric Yerevan movement.

The gunmen, whose demands for the release of one the “Founding Parliament” members, Jirair Sefilian, from jail has been rejected by authorities, are reportedly in negotiations with the police.

“Negotiations are underway with them right now,” Poghosian told reporters near the police building controlled by the gunmen. “The police and other law-enforcement bodies are continuing to urge them to back away from their criminal plans and to surrender themselves to the authorities.”

Poghosian added: “We will continue to negotiate as long as we have hopes to resolve this situation through negotiations.”

Few responded to pleas from the gunmen to gather at various parts of the city and join their movement, while reportedly dozens of people affiliated with the “Founding Parliament” were arrested across Armenia.

 

 

“The entire law-enforcement system … will take necessary preventive and operational measures if our appeals go unheeded,” warned Poghosian. “We are capable of neutralizing them. There is no other way to deal with murderers.”

Soon after the seizure of the police headquarters, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia Chairman Aghvan Vartanyan told Yerkir Media that the group has sought the wrong and a condemnable method to initiate immediate reforms in the country.

“Radical approaches undermine efforts for quantitative change. Issues will not be resolved through the use of arms, force, hostages or terror,” said Vartanyan.

“It is sad the headlines in the international press about the coup attempt in Turkey will be replaced with events in Armenia. The rest is the responsibility of law enforcement, which in my opinion, up till now, have not done their best,” added Vartanyan.

The NSS issued an announcement earlier confirming the incursion, adding that law enforcement is working to stabilize the situation and all aspects of the country’s security infrastructure are working in their normal capacity.

“This morning, a group of armed attackers stormed an Armenian police patrol regiment headquarters, and they are holding people hostage there at gunpoint,” reads the statement.

“At the moment, we’re carrying out negotiations with the armed group to ensure their peaceful surrender to the authorities,” the statement continued, adding that supporters of the attackers have been spreading false information about “an armed rebellion” through social media.

“This information being disseminated does not correspond to the truth. State government bodies are working in standard operating mode, and law enforcement authorities are conducting activities to ensure public order and state security,” added the statement.

Azatutyun.am said that local residents around the seized building reported gun fire and explosions at around 5 a.m. local time.

Residents in the surrounding streets were ordered to evacuate at around 12:30 p.m. local time.




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