Armenian authorities detains 200 after seizure of police station

July 18, 2016 7:30 am

Armenian police officers block the streets to Erebuni police station in the capital, Yerevan, on July 17, 2016.© AFP

Armenian authorities have
arrested nearly 200 people in the capital Yerevan after a group of armed
men raided a police headquarters and took several hostages.

Armed
men from the opposition group stormed the police headquarters in
Yerevan’s Erebuni district at dawn on Sunday and began exchanging
gunfire with the police.
A police officer was killed and two other
were wounded as the gunmen held a number of hostages “under the threat
of violence,” according to Armenia’s National Security Service.
Local media said police were investigating the detainees’ possible link with the armed men and the opposition group.
The
armed group is reportedly holding seven policemen hostage, including
Armenia’s deputy police chief General Major Vardan Egiazaryan and
Yerevan deputy police chief Colonel Valeri Osipyan.
The gunmen
said they were demanding the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan and
release of opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan.
Sefilyan was
arrested last month over alleged possession of firearms. The opposition
leader has been accused in the past of plotting a violent overthrow of
the government.
Sefilyan, an ethnic Armenian who was born in
Lebanon and fought during the Arab country’s civil war of the 1980s, has
served jail terms since 2006 on charges of attempting to overthrow the
government.
He is against Sargsyan, who has been ruling the country of 2.9 million people since he won the disputed elections in 2008.
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