Armed Opposition Group Frees All Hostages from Occupied Yerevan Police Station

YEREVAN (A.W.)—The armed opposition group calling themselves “Sasna Tsrer,” which occupied a Yerevan police station on July 17, released all four police officers they were holding hostage after extensive negotiations with the Armenian government. The negotiations were done through a mediator, Vitaly Balasanian.

Vehicles parked inside a police compound in Yerevan seized by opposition gunmen (Photo: Photolure)
Vehicles parked inside the police compound in Yerevan seized by opposition gunmen (Photo: Photolure)

Balasanian, a retired Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh Republic/NKR) army general, announced the imminent release of the hostages while speaking to Armenia’s Shant television station, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service, Two rank-and file policemen were set free, as well as high-ranking officers Vartan Yeghiazarian and Valeri Osipinian in the following hours, according to the report.

During the negotiations, it was agreed that in return for the hostages’ release, Armenian law enforcement officers and authorities would permit the armed group’s leaders to speak to journalists in a neutral zone around the occupied police station. Nearly 40 reporters were transported to the area late Saturday afternoon, though none of them were allowed to hold a live broadcast of the news conference.

It is not yet clear whether the authorities discussed the hostage-takers’ initial demands—that is, the release of Jirair Sefilyan from prison and the resignation of President Serge Sarkisian.




  1. If the government gives in to the demands of the Daredevils of Sassoon, what is to stop another group from doing the same thing six months from now, taking hostages and demands things? That the regime is bad, corrupt, ineffective, incompetent, there is no doubt about that. But armed insurrection is not the way to go about affecting change in a civil society. Now matter how frustrating, hard, confusing and long-term the principals of peaceful political activism must be affirmed and insisted-upon. The principal of “rule of law” is preferable for a civil society than the “rule of gun”.

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