Armed standoff continues at Yerevan police HQ building

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Screen capture from video at site. “Attack on the Police”, July 17, 2016 *
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter

Original headline: Occupiers of Police HQ in Yerevan are denominated as terrorists

Talks continue in Yerevan with the armed group that seized the Police Headquarters building. Six policemen are still being held hostage.

President Serzh Sargsyan held an emergency meeting with the leadership of the security forces about the armed take-over of the police building.

After the meeting, the Armenian National Security Service issued a statement in which the armed persons who seized the building are denominated as terrorists. 

It is reported that the authorities are trying to negotiate to persuade them to desist from any further steps that threaten human life and health, to free the hostages, lay down their arms, and surrender without resistance.

The police stressed that the action of the armed group is local, and that all the rumors, in particular, the attempt to capture the airport, are false. The situation is calm in Yerevan.

Dmitry Pisarenko, head of Sputnik Armenia reports that at present the streets leading to the raid zone are blocked by transport trucks. Traffic movement in this part of town is limited.

The correspondent of Interfax reported that one man has been arrested and taken away by patrol car from the area under police control.

To enter the territory of the site, the militants simply rammed the gate of the with a truck. One of them in a car hit it first.

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Soon after the seizure commandos managed to free two people after a short battle. 

Then the shooting stopped. 

Police refrained from carrying out further active operations, for the safety of their colleagues.

Hunan Poghosyan, Deputy Chief of Police of Armenia: “During the armed attack on the building Colonel Arthur Vanoyan was killed. Injured were Colonel Aram Hovhannisyan, Colonel Rook Hotegyan, and junior officer Gagik Mkrtchyan.”

After the cease-fire the fighters distributed a video in the Internet, which spelled out their goal. They stated that they intend to keep up their occupation until the detention center released their leader, a representative of the outlying opposition Zhirayr Sefilyan, and other people close to him. All of them are suspected of illegal possession of weapons and preparing anti-government actions.

In the video, the armed men call themselves “the union militia,” thus emphasizing that they have combat experience.

The first of the authorities in contact with the armed group, the deputy police chief Vardan Yeghiazaryan, and the deputy chief of Yerevan Valery Osipyan, entered and are still in the captured area. They explain this by saying they can not ignore their colleagues taken hostage.

At noon, Nikol Pashinyan, an MP of the regular opposition, was allowed into the locked down area. According to him, the militants are only willing to follow the instructions of their leader, Zhirayr Sefilyan; they demand that he be brought to them from the detention facility. But the police are not ready to meet these requirements.
*This morning’s first two reports are here.

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