Tensions Escalate in Yerevan as Standoff Enters Day 5

Protesters and police clash on Wednesday night on Khorenatsi Street in Yerevan
Protesters and police clash on Wednesday night on Khorenatsi Street in Yerevan

Protesters and police clash on Wednesday night on Khorenatsi Street in Yerevan

YEREVAN—Tensions between police and protesters escalated on Wednesday on Khorenatsi Street, where law enforcement authorities have closed off roads leading to a police station that was seized Sunday morning by a group calling itself “Daredevils of Sasoun,” bringing the standoff into its fifth day.

Beginning at around 4:30 a.m. local time Thursday, some 20 to 25 protesters were arrested and dragged across the street by law enforcement beyond the riot police barricade in place to bloc access to the seized station, after demonstrators were asked to clear the Khorentasi Street to allow traffic to flow. The arrested demonstrators allegedly did not adhere to police directives.

Despite please for calm by higher ranking police officers, some demonstrators were beaten immediately after being taken beyond the police barricade.

Earlier Wednesday evening,at around 10 p.m., police began firing stun grenades into the crowd, as demonstrators that have gathered there since late Sunday, attempted to approach barricade.

Several members of the crowd began throwing stones and bottles at the police, prompting the firing of flares at the direction of the protesters in an effort to disperse the protesters, who retreated but did not vacate the premises.

Police rejected protesters demands to deliver food and water to members of the “Daredevils of Sasoun” who are holding four hostages and are reportedly refusing food provided by the police for fear of being poisoned.

This was the second day of clashes between protesters and police. On Tuesday night, protesters and residents who had gathered at the Sari Tagh section of the Erebuni district, directly above the seized police station clashed with law enforcement when the latter tried to dismantle makeshift barricades set up by area residents to prevent access to the station.

On Wednesday, Armenian authorities said that they do not plan to storm the Yerevan police station Armenia’s National Security Service said that it is still in negotiations with the “Daredevils of Sasoun,”according to Azatutyun.am.

“Special units of Armenia’s law-enforcement bodies remain at their highest state of readiness, but there are no prerequisites necessary for their active operations for the time being,” the NSS announced in a press statement.

United States Condemns Attack
United States State Department condemned the seizure of the Yerevan police station and urged Armenian law enforcement authorities to show restraint with the 18 men holding four police officers hostage.

“[W]e offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of the police officers who were killed or injured during – I think the incident took place Sunday in Yerevan’s Erebuni district. We obviously condemn strongly the use of violence to effect political change in Armenia or anywhere. We encourage Armenian authorities to handle the situation with appropriate restraint, but again, our condolences go out to those police officers who lost their lives in the attack,” said department spokesperson Mark Toner on July 19.

When asked if the United States is concerned if the attempted military coup in Turkey may be inspiring people of neighboring countries to resort to similar methods, Toner said that using force to overthrow a democratically elected government is “always a bad idea.” “We want to see political change through democratic processes. And so we would certainly want to caution anybody who thinks that violence is a plausible way to achieve any political aims,” Toner said.

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6 Comments

  1. Norin said:

    The USA, whose founding fathers overthrew their King and violently declared a revolutionary war as mere colonists of England, are preaching to others now that “the democratic way is the way to serious change”. So what do people do when the democratic process is manipulated and falsified by superpowers such as the USA and Russia? Furthermore, why is the US so concerned with a couple of dead cops on the the other side of the world? Could it be that Armenia is yet another pawn in the great game being played between Russia and the US? Take you manipulated democracy and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

  2. zarkim said:

    These daredevils are nothing but a bunch of terrorists. Why?
    Terrorists take hostage, terrorists demand ransom, terrorist demand the resignation of a ruler, terrorists demand the release of a prisoner, etc..
    .
    These terrorists demand the release of a criminal. They also demand Serzh Sargsyan to step down.
    .
    There are appropriate actions that these daredevils can take to raise their concerns. Terrorism is not one of them.
    Serzh Sargsyan had nothing to do with the imprisonment of Jirair Sefilian.
    .
    If every criminal takes hostages and demands the resignation of a king or a queen, then CHAOS will rule.
    President Sargsyan is on the right track and should be supported.

    • Nairi Reganyan said:

      No, not terrorists. Your accusations do not mean much unless you are sure of it. Get your facts straight then judge. I know that the government is corrupt and is looting whatever little remains of it. If it continues this way it will drive the country to its distraction. But I do not know if there is that competent and strong leader, how will pick up this mess, and lead the country to a prosperous future. That is all.

      • zarkim said:

        Hi Nairi
        Thanks for your comment.
        .
        These police actions seem to be BRUTAL. However, comparing to other countries they are not. In any other country some people would be killed so far. Police actions in Armenia are not brutal. They are necessary.
        .
        Yes, I agree with you. Armenian Government should make drastic changes. These changes will happen but will take time. May be Sargsyan and other reach people like him could chip in and help.
        .
        You want to know what happens in other countries read the following and research using google.
        .
        This Sassoon movement should be remembered and be used to fix problems. Government should find a way to end this situation peacefully.

  3. Mike said:

    Dear Zarkim,
    If you are real Armenian please research deeper about what is happening in Armenia and why. This will keep you busy for a while. Or, if you have no time or desire to research this topic beyond propaganda sources, then you should not be taking about that you have no knowledge of. That only in case if you are Armenian. Otherwise you can proceed with your uninformed and encompitent rant.

    • zarkim said:

      Hi Mike
      Thanks for your comment.
      .
      These police actions seem to be BRUTAL. However, comparing to other countries they are not. In any other country some people would be killed so far. Police actions in Armenia are not brutal. They are necessary.
      .
      Yes, I agree with you. Armenian Government should make drastic changes. These changes will happen but will take time. May be Sargsyan and other reach people like him could chip in and help.
      .
      You want to know what happens in other countries read the following and research using google.
      .
      This Sassoon movement should be remembered and be used to fix problems. Government should find a way to end this situation peacefully.

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