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Armenian Armed Group Holds Hostages at Yerevan Police Station | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Armenian police officers block the streets to Erebuni police station in Yerevan on July 17, 2016 (AFP Photo/Karen Minasyan)

Yerevan-An armed group stormed a police station in Yerevan and took seven hostages calling for the release of a political leader who was arrested two months ago for gun possession.

The Armenian National Security Service denied any coup attempt.

Earlier, an opposing politician hinted that an armed rebellion was happening which prompted the idea that the gunmen were inspired by the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

Armenia’s National Security Service issued a statement accusing the group’s supporters of “spreading misinformation on mass media and social networks about an armed rebellion and about buildings being taken over… the information is not correct.”

“The Armenian state continues to operate normally. Police carry out their duties to protect public order and security,” said the security service.

The statement added that special units were everywhere and ready to attack if needed. Photos of the scene showed the area was full of armored police vehicles.

Media bureau of Armenian police chief Ashot Aharonian said that the police besieged the area and closed all roads leading to the location and began negotiations with the armed men.

The group released a video demanding opposition leader Jirair Sefilian and a number of others be freed, and urging supporters on to the streets.

The group identified as the Daredevils of Sassoun and said its members had released a video in which they say: “Dear friends, citizens, Armenian nation, it has begun, we are doing this for you… Go out to the streets!”

The group was quoted as saying it would retaliate if attacked and had no intention of surrendering.

Armenian MP Nikol Pashinyan said the group took eight police officers hostage but later released one who was suffering from high blood pressure.

Pashinyan told the press after meeting with the hostage takers that one of the gunmen had a head injury, yet he refused to leave the police station.

Armenian news agencies reported that seven policemen were being held hostage, while the group reported that among the hostages was the deputy police chief.

On Sunday, police intensified their security measures in Yerevan after an officer died and two others were injured.