After releasing hostages, ‘Daredevils’ say they won’t surrender

By Asbarez | Sunday, 24 July 2016

YEREVAN—Hours after releasing four hostages who were being held at a police compound in the Erebuni District, a group calling itself “Daredevils of Sasoun,” which has seized the police station said they would not surrender.

The “Daredevils of Sasoun” representatives addressed journalist within the seized compound and continued to insist that opposition “Founding Parliament” member Jirair Sefilian must be released and President Serzh Sarkisian must step down.

The press conference was part of a deal with authorities that resulted in the release of the four hostages—two police officers and two high-ranking law enforcement officers. The deal also designates the entrance of the police compound as a “neutral zone,” and allows permanent press access to it.

“Daredevils” leaders, Varujan Avetisyan and Pavel Manukyan insisted that they would not surrender and are prepared for a possible attack by security forces with Manukyan saying that his comrades were prepared to seize other buildings.

Vitaly Balasanyan, a retired Nagorno-Karabakh army general who brokered the hostages’ release and was the lead negotiator with the “Daredevils,” also took part in the press briefing. He ruled out Sarkisian’s resignation.

Balasanyan told reporters that Sefilian had told him Saturday morning that his demands no longer include Sarkisian’s resignation but there were other underlying demands that if met, he would encourage the “Daredevils” to surrender

The Karabakh military leader said that the Sarkisian has urged the group to surrender and has given assurances that security forces would not attack the seized compound