Police disperse demonstration in downtown Yerevan

21/07/2016 09:49
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DUSHANBE, July 21, 2016, Asia-Plus -- Hundreds of Armenian protesters sympathetic to an armed opposition group holding hostages at a district police headquarters in Yerevan clashed with police on July 20 after their demand to provide food to the gunmen went unheeded by authorities.

Demonstrators pelted a heavy cordon of riot police with rocks, after which police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd.

According to the latest data, the number of injured during clashes between protesters and police in the Armenian capital has gone up to 51, including 28 police officers, Lenta.ru said.  

TASS reported that the chairman of the Socialist Party of Armenia, Movses Shaverdian, received serious injuries, including a bleeding wound on the head. The relatives of the 64-year-old politician said he was undergoing medical tests.

About 50 people were reportedly detained.

Meanwhile, Radio Liberty’s Armenian Service reports the protest continued into the early hours of July 21 as some 2,000 protesters built barricades in front of the cordons of baton-wielding riot police in flak jackets and helmets.

The gunmen took over the Erebuni police station at dawn on July 17, killing one police officer and wounding six other people, and prompting a standoff with police.  They continue to hold four police officers hostage.

The gunmen are demanding the release of Zhirayr Sefilian, the leader of the Founding Parliament opposition movement, who was arrested last month on charges of illegal acquisition and possession of weapons.

They also want President Serzh Sarkisian to step down.

Authorities have rejected the group's demands and say negotiations are underway with the gunmen for their surrender.


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