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Armenian President Calls For Release Of Yerevan Police Hostages

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian called on the gunmen holding hostages in a police station in Yerevan to lay down arms and release the four police officers they're holding hostage.

Sarkisian's call came after he met with law-enforcement officials on July 22. He said that the government would punish law-breakers and its actions "will be in line with Armenia's laws." But he did not say whether he would ask police to storm the building.

The police station was seized on July 17 by gunmen seeking the release of an opposition figure who was arrested in June for illegal weapons possession. One policeman was killed in the assault.

About 3,000 supporters of the gunmen gathered near the police station late July 22. Nikol Panishian, a leading opposition politician, urged the crowd to be peaceful but persistent in calling for Sarkisian's resignation and new elections.

He also said demonstrators would be holding nightly meetings near the police station.

The Armenian national security agency on July 22 said that two men had been detained for allegedly trying to bring grenades and firebombs to the demonstrations.

Based on reporting by AP, Interfax, and TASS