18:55 GMT +318 August 2018
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    Armenian opposition supporters clash with riot police blocking the streets to Erebuni police station, where gunmen are holding hostages, in Yerevan on July 19, 2016

    Protesters Clash With Police in Armenian Capital

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    Hundreds of protesters clash with police in the Armenian capital as the hostage crisis at a police station in Yerevan enters its fourth day.

    At least four protesters rallying near the seized police building in Armenian capital, Yerevan, were injured during clashes with police on Wednesday and required emergency medical assistance, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the site.

    According to the report, the protesters were throwing rocks and pieces of heavy debris at police, while law enforcement officers responded with warning shots and flash-bang grenades.

    At this point, police pushed the crowd to a distance of about 80 meters (some 260 feet) from the building, the correspondent said in a phone call.

    On July 17, an armed group took several police officers hostage at a patrol police station in the capital's district of Erebuni. The hostage takers are demanding the release of Jirair Sefilian, an opposition politician and the founder of the New Armenia Public Salvation Front. Sefilian, who took part in the 1988-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan, is accused of the illegal acquisition and possession of arms.

    The gunmen who took over the Erebuni police station at dawn of July 17 killed one police officer and wounded six others prompting a standoff with police. They continue to hold four police officers hostage at the station.

    ​The assailants also demand that President Serzh Sargsyan step down, but authorities have rejected the groups demands as negotiations continue to be underway for their surrender.

    Protesters are now building barricades around the police station as the standoff with police continues to escalate.

    ​Earlier on Wednesday, the Armenian National Security Service released an official statement confirming that "Five people were released as a part of the antiterrorist operation in connection with the armed attack and seizure of the territory of the regiment of the patrol and inspection service of the Armenian police and holding the hostages there."

    ​Police have used light bombs with limited success in an attempt to get protesters rallied around the police station to disperse.


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