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Gunmen Wounded In Armenian Hostage Standoff

  • RFE/RL's Armenian Service

Armenian security forces have shot and wounded three more gunmen in a continuing standoff with an armed opposition group barricaded inside a police compound in Yerevan.

Armenian police spokesman Ashot Aharonian said they "returned fire" after the gunmen again started firing gunshots in defiance of warnings issued by law-enforcement authorities. "One of the shooters, Arayik Khandoyan, was wounded," he said.

Aharonian said the gunfire continued after Khandoyan was struck by a bullet. "Two more shooters were wounded by retaliatory fire from law-enforcers," he wrote on Facebook on July 29.

Riot police later used stun grenades and batons to prevent demonstrators who back the armed opposition group from reaching the besieged police compound.

Police detained a number of protesters late on July 29.

RFE/RL’s Armenian Service says three of its correspondents reporting from the protest were beaten with batons, apparently by plainclothes policemen.

LIVE STREAM: Standoff In Yerevan (natural sound)

The gunmen -- supporters of jailed opposition leader Zhirayr Sefilian -- stormed the Erebuni district police headquarters on July 17, killing one officer and taking several more hostage.

All of the original hostages were released by July 23 but the gunmen remained holed up inside the building surrounded by security forces. Earlier this week, they took hostage three medics sent in to treat wounded attackers.

In addition to the three gunmen wounded on July 29, five others were wounded in previous exchanges of fire with police.

The gunmen have demanded the resignation of President Serzh Sarkisian and the release of Sefilian, who was arrested along with six of his supporters on June 20 on illegal weapons charges.