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Armed Situation In Armenia – Video Reports World Media & Social Networks

Early Sunday morning the pre-dawn gunfight at Erebuni police station

Areg Kyureghyan released a video of demands by the gunmens

US Embassy, Armenia

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Ongoing Security Situation in Erebuni

The Embassy has received reports of an ongoing security situation involving armed personnel at the police forces building in Erebuni. Roads are blocked in the area. All American citizens are advised to avoid travel in that area and monitor local media for further information.

Armenian Media

A group of armed people on Sunday, July 17 stormed the patrol service of the Armenian police and took everyone inside hostage. The group are members of the Sasna Tsrer movement. One police officer was killed, and three more were wounded.

4:45 pm: One of the members of the group said negotiations are still underway with the law enforcement authorities.

According to Pavel Manukyan, the National Security Service has offered to take the gunmen to Jirayr Sefilyan but they have refused and demand instead that Sefilian be released.

Also, Manukyan said they have required journalists but the police have refused to fulfill their demand. He said two of their gunmen were wounded during the shootout.In response to a question on whether they are going to release the hostages, Manukyan gave a negative response. Asked if they are sorry for the officer killed in the shootout, the gunman said: “We are sorry for everything.”Commenting on a possible attack which could endanger the lives of the hostages, Manukyan said: “Everything is possible.”

3:45 pm: Deputy Police Chief of Armenia Hunan Pohosyan told reporters that negotiations are still underway with the gunmen.

The gunmen have one demand, i.e. the release of Jirair Sefilian, which, according to Poghosyan, is impossible.

A police colonel, Artur Vanoyan was killed, while colonel Aram Hovhannisyan, lieutenant colonel Hrach Khosteghdyan and sub-officer Gagik Mkrtchyan were wounded.

2:20 pm: MP Nikol Pashinyan said he knows nothing about the police’s plans, but said the group members are determined and don’t intend to retreat in the event of an attack. Also, the MP said he is going to meet with Jirair Sefilian at the detention facility he is currently being kept in.

1:55 pm: One of the wounded police officers was admitted to Muratsan military hospital. He was wounded in the abdomen and has already undergone surgery.

1:45 pm: Several people, including activist Vardges Gaspari were detained at the Freedom Square near Yerevan’s Opera House. The gunmen earlier called on the public to gather at the square “for planning the next steps.”

1:30 pm: The NSS said a police officer was killed and two more were wounded in the hostage situation. Two of the hostages were set free following the National Security Service’s operative measures, the NSS said in a statement.

12:56 pm: Local residents told a PanARMENIAN.Net correspondent that the operation began at around 5:30 am. A powerful explosion was first heard (probably the truck hitting the gates – editor’s note), followed by gunshot fire.

12:38 pm:Commander of the Internal Troops Levon Yeranosyan, Deputy Police Chief Hunan Poghosyan have arrived at the scene. Poghosyan urged the public to go home for their own security.

12:20 pm: MP Nikol Pashinyan who just left the police premises told reporters that the group demand resignation of [President] Serzh Sargsyan and transfer of power to the people. The armed group currenyly holds 7 people hostage. There were initially 8 hostages but one of them was hospitalized following a fluctuation of blood pressure. The incident took place early in the morning when the members of the group hit the gates of the department with a Ural truck. According to Pashinyan, one of the members has received a gunshot or shrapnel injury in the head

11:41 am: Police cars and armored vehicles have blocked the road taking to the Erebuni police department. Journalists are barred from entering the area or reporting on the inicident, RFE/RL Armenian Service says.

Head of the press service of the Armenian police Ashot Aharonyan said they will soon issue a statement.

11:15 am: The NSS reports that state authorities continue their normal operation, while law enforcement authorities are properly carrying out public safety functions.

Negotiations are currently underway with the armed militants for them to peacefully surrender to the Armenian authorities, the NSS said.

As the press service of the National Security Service (NSS) reports, their supporters use news outlets and social media platforms “to spread disinformation about starting an armed uprising, capturing buildings and premises.”

Armenia’s NSS declared that the information does not correspond to reality.

10:35: Founding Parliament member Varuzhan Avetisyan, who also from “Sasna Tsrer,” said that those seizing the building are members of the initiative too. They demand that founder of the movement Jirair Sefilian who was arrested several weeks ago, be set free.

He said that the police used an armed vehicle to attack those seizing the building, a retaliatory fire broke, injuring several people.

In an interview with Armtimes.am, Avetisyan said earlier that after Sefilian joins them from jail, they will proceed to the next stage of their demand, i.e. resignation of [President] Serzh Sargsyan and transfer of power to the people. Sefilian is the one to conduct negotiations, he said. He also added that they have Deputy Chief of Yerevan Police Valery Osipyan and deputy chief of police Vardan Yeghiazaryan.

Gunman  stormed the premises of a police regiment of Armenia’s Police this morning and took people hostage, Press Service of the Armenian National Security Service reports.

At the same time their supports are disseminating misinformation on social media about a coup and invasion of buildings. The NSS declares that the reports do not correspond to reality.

The state authorities are working in their normal capacity and the law enforcement bodies are  working to stabilize the situation. Negotiations are under way with the armed group to organize their surrender to RA authorities.

“We assure that this any and similar attempts will be foiled by the law-enforcement bodies, those responsible will be held accountable,” the NSS said.

Photo captures armed group entering police headquarters

Photo captures armed group entering police headquarters

YEREVAN—One person has been reportedly killed and several wounded as an armed group has seized the headquarters of the police and interior troops in Erebuni, according to local media.

Armenia’s National Security Service confirmed that one police officer was killed and two were wounded during the incident.

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 has 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.

The attack seems to be orchestrated by a group sympathetic to opposition activist Jirayr Sefilian, who was detained last month. The attackers are demanding his immediate release.

In an interview with Yerkir.am, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia Chairman Aghvan Vartanyan said 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.

YEREVAN, JULY 17, ARMENPRESS: The head of the Public Council of Armenia Vazgen Manukyan considers unacceptable the attempts to solve any issues with illegal actions. In a conversation with “Armenpress” Manukyan commented on the hostage situation in Yerevan. “Solving problems with illegal actions is unacceptable, I’m not a supporter of these kind of actions. They only harm Armenia. There are other way to resolve issues,” Manukyan said.

An armed group has entered the building of the patrol police department in Yerevan and keeps people there with the threat of violence. The official statement of the National Security Service of Armenia runs as follows “A group of armed people have taken hostage a small group of policemen and in order to release them they demand the release of Jirayr Sefilyan who was imprisoned with the charges of illegally obtaining, keeping, transporting weaponry. A policeman has been killed, two have been wounded. In order to stop and disrupt the criminal actions of the armed group that illegally holds the area, the Special Forces have released two hostages. Armenian law enforcement bodies fully control the situation and have undertaken all necessary means to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the National Security Service calls on the mass media to use the information from official sources, as in case of the contrary that would assist the illegal actions and would pose threat for people’s life and health.”

 

 

 

International Media

Policemen block a street after a group of armed men seized a police station along with an unknown number of hostages, according the country’s security service, in Yerevan, Armenia, July 17, 2016.
REUTERS/MELIK BAGHDASARYAN/PHOTOLURE

Armed men seized a police station and hostages in Armenia’s capital Yerevan on Sunday, demanding Armenians take to the streets to press their demands for the release of opposition politicians they said had been jailed unfairly.

One of their main demands was to free Jirair Sefilian, an opposition politician whom the authorities have accused of plotting civil unrest. Sefilian was jailed in June over allegations of illegally possessing weapons.

Armenia’s security service said one policeman had been killed and two wounded in the violence, but that negotiations were now underway to resolve the standoff peacefully.

Two hostages had been freed, it said. Armenian news agencies cited police sources as saying seven or eight hostages remained.

Photographs from the scene show the area ringed with white armored vehicles.

Though far smaller in scale, suggestions by one opposition politician that an armed uprising was underway stoked speculation that the hostage takers had drawn inspiration from an unsuccessful coup attempt in neighboring Turkey.

The security service accused the hostage takers’ supporters of spreading false rumors on the internet about an uprising and the seizure of other buildings. Such assertions were pure “disinformation,” it said.

“The National Security Service officially announces that such information is absolutely untrue,” it said in a statement.

DEMANDS

Video footage of the hostage takers posted on Russia’s lifenews.ru portal showed the men, armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, and wearing bullet proof vests, listing their demands.

“Dear compatriots. It has started. We ask everyone to take to the streets,” one of the men said. “Our demand is to set free all political prisoners … and for them to be brought here.”

Another hostage-taker said: “The police station has been in our hands for three and a half hours. We have captured all the weapons. There is no other way. We appeal to you. Don’t leave us here alone. We are doing our bit – you do your bit.”

There were no immediate reports of crowds taking to the streets.

Several prominent Armenian political commentators said the men appeared to sympathize with the Founding Parliament opposition group, which they said did not enjoy wide support.

At least one other opposition group, Flourishing Armenia, denounced the violence and said the men were unlikely to inspire more than 50 people to take to the streets.

Armenians news agencies reported that the armed men were also demanding that President Serzh Sargsyan quit. Reuters could not immediately confirm that assertion.

Sefilian, a former military commander and the man the hostage takers want freed, has strongly criticized Sargsyan in the past, saying he is unhappy about the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict between pro-Armenian separatists and the breakaway Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

A Moscow-brokered ceasefire halted four days of violence in the South Caucasus region on April 5, the worst flare-up in years, but sporadic shooting is still frequent at night and people on both sides have been killed since.

The mountainous enclave is within Azerbaijan’s borders, but populated mainly by ethnic Armenians who reject Azerbaijan’s rule.

(Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Unknown number of hostages taken inside police station as local media report group wants release of opposition figure.

Armed men have seized a police station in Armenia’s capital Yerevan and taken an unknown number of hostages on Sunday morning, the country’s security service said.

One police officer was said to have been killed and two others wounded in the operation on Sunday, Maria Titizian, a journalist based in Yerevan, told Al Jazeera.

“Several hostages are still being held, including a deputy police chief. Most of the roads into the capital Yerevan have now been blocked and several people are being detained in major gathering centres in the capital,” Titizian said.

Negotiations were under way to resolve the situation peacefully, the National Security Service said, accusing the hostage takers’ supporters of spreading false rumours on the internet that an armed uprising against the government was underway.

“A group of armed men entered the premises of a police regiment in Yerevan and is holding hostages under the threat of violence,” the security service said.

Armenian news agencies reported that the armed men were demanding the release of Jirair Sefilian, an opposition leader and former military commander, who was arrested in June.

Sefilian has strongly criticised Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan and is unhappy about the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict between pro-Armenian separatists and the breakaway Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

OPINION: Nagorno-Karabakh – Contested narratives

“Supporters of Jirair Sefilian have always said it would launch an armed uprising to get rid of the current authorities. His organisation maintains that this is an illegitimate government that came to power through flawed elections and is holding on to power against the will of the people,” she added.

“Among their demands is the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan and the release of all political prisoners in Armenia. They do not have wide support in the country.”

The security service said law enforcement agencies were working as normal to uphold public safety. TV images of the scene showed a heavy police presence with armoured vehicles blocking off the road to the police station.

The hostage takers’ supporters were spreading what it called “disinformation” about the seizure of other buildings as part of a coup, according to the security service.

“The National Security Service officially announces that such information is absolutely untrue,” it said.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

One person was killed as a group of armed men stormed the headquarters of the police and took the local police chief hostage along with an unknown number of people in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, local media reported on early Sunday.

Security troops were dispatched to the headquarter, and the head of the country’s security, Vladimir Gasparyan, was also present at the scene.

Negotiations were underway to resolve the situation peacefully, the security service said, accusing the hostage takers’ supporters of spreading false rumours on the internet that an armed uprising against the government was underway.

Armenian news agencies reported that the armed men were demanding the release of Jirair Sefilian, an opposition leader and former military commander, who was arrested in June.

Sefilian has strongly criticised Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan and is unhappy about the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict between pro-Armenian separatists and the breakaway Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Agencies reported that the armed men were demanding that President Sargsyan quit and that both some policemen and some of the hostage takers had been wounded. Reuters could not immediately confirm either assertion.

The security service said law enforcement agencies were working as normal to uphold public safety. TV images of the scene showed a heavy police presence with armoured vehicles blocking off the road to the police station.

The security service said the hostage takers’ supporters were spreading what it called “disinformation” about the seizure of other buildings as part of an armed uprising.

“The National Security Service officially announces that such information is absolutely untrue,” it said.

EREVAN — A group of armed men from an opposition group stormed a district police headquarters and exchanged gunfire with police in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, early in the morning on July 17, the National Security Service said in a statement.

The NSS said that a police officer was killed and two others were wounded in the shootout in the Erebuni police station.

Earlier, the security service had said the attackers were holding several hostages in the police headquarters, adding that “negotiations are under way to release them peacefully.”

Security officials say two of the hostages have been released.

The opposition group Founding Parliament issued a statement demanding the release of the group’s leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, a fierce government critic who was arrested last month.

Varuzhan Avetisian, a spokesman for the group, has also announced that “they are starting a rebellion” and an attempt to “overthrow the government” and “release political prisoners.”

Live Feed From RFE/RL’s Armenian Service:

Police have cordoned off the area, with armored vehicles blocking off the road to the police station. The NSS statement said that law-enforcement agencies were functioning as normal to uphold public safety.

“The law-enforcement agencies fully control the situation and are taking all necessary measures to resolve it,” it said.

Residents of nearby apartment buildings said they heard several explosions early in the morning. “There were also many gunshots afterwards,” a local resident said.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmaker and outspoken government critic Nikol Pashinian visited the police station and spoke with the attackers.

Pashinian, the leader of the newly established Civic Agreement opposition party, said one of the attackers inside the police station was critically wounded in the head.

He also said a policeman, who was feeling unwell, has been released by the hostage-takers.

Opposition leader Zhirayr SefilianOpposition leader Zhirayr Sefilian

The Founding Parliament group frequently stages street protests in Yerevan, demanding the resignation of President Serzh Sarkisian.

The group is particularly critical of the way the government has been handling a long-running conflict in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Sefilian and six of his supporters were arrested on June 20 after the authorities initially said they were preparing a plot to seize several government buildings and telecommunication facilities in Yerevan.

He was formally charged with illegal acquisition and possession of weapons. Sefilian says the case against him is politically motivated.

Just days before his arrest, Sefilian announced plans to set up a new opposition movement called the National Resistance Committee. He said the new movement would try to topple the government “with the help of the people and the army.”

Sefilian was arrested in 2006 over calls for “a violent overthrow of the government.” He was released in 2008.

In 2015, Sefilian was arrested again along with several of his supporters on suspicion of preparing a coup, but released shortly afterward.

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