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20 Jul, 2016 18:13

Scores injured in Armenia clashes as police station hostage crisis continues in capital

Dozens of protesters and officers have been injured in clashes in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. People erected barricades next to a police station that was hijacked by armed men on July 17 and which is still under their control.

People have been throwing stones at police, while law enforcement officials lobbed stun grenades in exchange to subdue the crowd.

At least 45 people were injured in the clashes, the Armenian Health Ministry said, adding that 25 of those injured had been police. Out of that total, 18 were rushed to the hospital from the scene, while others checked into medical facilities themselves. 

Protesters are said to be the supporters of hijackers who are currently inside the police station, News Armenia reported, as cited by Russia’s RBK news outlet.

Police have meanwhile managed to bring the situation under control, TASS reported. The agency cites police as saying that dozens of people were detained following the violence.

Office of the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia, while respecting the right to assembly, has called on activists to “avoid activities that could threaten the peaceful nature of the protest.”

A group of armed men seized a police station and hostages in Yerevan on Sunday, killing one law enforcement officer and injuring two others.

The attack was launched to demand the release of Armenian opposition figure Jirayr Sefilyan, who was detained last month after authorities allegedly uncovered a plot to seize several buildings and telecommunication facilities in Yerevan.

According to the latest statement from Armenia’s National Security Service, its special forces are ready to take action, but only when a need for it emerges.

“Special law enforcement units of the Republic of Armenia continue to remain on high alert, but there is no need for their engagement as of yet,” the  published on the body’s internet site reads.

Interfax reports that supporters of Sefilyan cordoned off the road next to the occupied police station, carrying banners with pictures of the hijackers.