Shootout injures five as Armenia standoff drags on

Armed gunmen have demanded that the President stand down and for the release of political prisoners

Shootout injures five as Armenia standoff drags on

World Bulletin / News Desk

A shootout between gunmen and Armenian police has left five people injured, an official said Wednesday, as the authorities remain locked in a protracted standoff with the heavily armed opposition supporters.

A police officer and four gunmen were wounded as clashes erupted at a police compound in the capital Yerevan that was seized over ten days ago, police spokesman Ashot Aharonyan wrote on Facebook.

Two of the armed group and the officer were in hospital being treated for their wounds while another two wounded gunmen remained on the compound, Aharonyan said early Wednesday.

Negotiations were continuing to get the remaining gunmen -- supporters of fringe jailed opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan who have demanded the president step down -- to lay down their weapons, he said.

The group stormed a police building in the capital Yerevan on July 17, killing one officer, taking several more hostage and seizing a store of weapons.

Over the weekend they released the final four police officers being held captive but remained holed up inside the police building surrounded by law enforcement.

The group has demanded the resignation of the ex-Soviet nation's President Serzh Sarkisian and the release of Sefilyan.

The lengthy standoff has shaken the tiny Caucasus republic and sparked clashes between police and protesters furious over official handling of the incident.

Sefilyan -- the leader of a small opposition group named the New Armenia Public Salvation Front -- and six of his supporters were arrested in June after authorities said they were preparing to seize government buildings and telecoms facilities in Yerevan.

A fierce critic of the government, he was arrested in 2006 over calls for "a violent overthrow of the government" and jailed for 18 months. He was released in 2008.

Pro-Russian Sarkisian, a former military officer, has been president of the country of 2.9 million people since winning a vote in 2008 that saw bloody clashes between police and supporters of the defeated opposition candidate in which 10 people died.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2016, 10:07