Armed Group Occupying Yerevan Police Station Surrenders to Authorities

YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) announced on July 31, that the armed opposition group, which had seized a Yerevan police station since July 17, surrendered to law enforcement authorities. According to the NSS, 20 gunmen were arrested after they surrendered.

Members of the 'Sasna Tsrer' group have surrendered to police (Photo: Photolure)
Members of the ‘Sasna Tsrer’ group surrendered to police on July 31 (Photo: Photolure)

A few hours before the NSS announced the surrender, RFE/RL’s Armenian service announced that two of the opposition gunmen had surrendered to the authorities. In a video released by Armenian police, the men identified as Ruben Grigorian and Gevorg Melkonian said that they were misled by fellow members of the armed group, and that they remained inside the seized police station out of fear for their own lives.

A day earlier, on July 30, a police officer was shot dead in a standoff with the armed group. The spokesperson for the Armenian police Ashot Aharonian said that Yura Tepanosian (b. 1986) was killed by sniper gun fire while sitting in a police car parked over 1,000 feet away from the seized police compound.

Armenian law enforcement authorities gave armed members of the radical armed group until 5 p.m. July 30, to lay down their arms or face a large-scale assault on the police station.

“Or else, special units of law-enforcement bodies will be authorized to open fire and neutralize, without prior warnings, any armed person in and outside the police regiment,” the NSS said in a statement. The NSS linked the ultimatum with intensive gunfire which it said the gunmen opened late on Friday at NSS and police units surrounding them. It said a number of police officers were wounded before the security forces returned fire.

“After what happened on the evening of July 29, all real possibilities of reaching a peaceful resolution of the situation with the terrorists have been exhausted,” declared the security agency. Use of force against them has become “absolutely necessary” in these circumstances, it added.

There have been ongoing protests happening on the streets of Yerevan for the past week. Riot police clashed with hundreds of people late on July 29 near the police compound. At least 40 injured people, 4 of them policemen, were taken to another Yerevan hospital, Surb Grigor Lusavorich. A senior doctor there told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that most of them suffered burns apparently caused by the police flashbangs.

The Armenian Weekly will be monitoring the situation and updating accordingly.


  1. I didn’t understand what was the reason this group occupied the police station , to start with. What were they planning to do. I am deeply sorry that this ever happened.

    Thank you.

    • They wanted the release of Jhirayr Sefilian, a political prisoner; the demand escalated as I understand to the resignation of Serjkh Sarksyan and free/fair elections in Armenia. Mr. Sefilian was a founding member of parliament, and an outspoken critic of corruption in the present regime. This is what I gathered from the many available online resources.

    • yea, you keep eating your double whoppers and then feel sorry for those who are desperate to change something in a country which is gradually dying. In the last 10 years some 320 thousand people have left Armenia for good, meanwhile the finance minister is selling his house in California for 32 million dollar, probably to buy a better one!

  2. How much I understood the protest was against corrupt othorities who made people’s life miserable and insicure.
    The move was unorganised and indisciplined but had a clear message to president that people are not happy, he should go and give the control of the country to the, progressive and patriotic youngers’ who do care of the future of Armenia.

  3. I hope this two week-long theatrical performance (in most instances, not all), in which the interests of the ruling elite and the Founding Parliament overlapped thanks to a certain mutual intent, has achieved the results to the benefit of Armenia and Artsakh.

  4. They wanted the release of political prisoners namely jirayr sefilian and the resignation of Serzhig

  5. Thankfully it is over without any further bloodshed or deaths. The lives lost were too many. This was not a productive or positive situation. Indeed it shows that certain people were prepared to resort to desperate actions, which would not have produced any positive results other than further loss and pain.
    What is still unknown are the grievances of the group. What were they trying to accomplish?
    Now hopefully, those who surrendered will have their due process in court, and a fair legal system to judge them.
    Vart Adjemian

  6. At any point of time Armenians should not Pursue demands violently
    In Armenia.
    All parties should unite against outside throats.

  7. At what point does a proper unified diaspora and it’s collective organization stand up against the current oligarch, mafia type rip off Armenian political system? I don’t condone violence for political change but demonstrations every summer in a time of such vulnerability speaks volumes. Emigration is a fact. These issues need to be addressed.

  8. “Armenian Up Rising of July 2016”
    I want to climb a tree like a child …
    Climb till the top
    Never come down …
    I want to climb a high tree
    A strong tree like Cyprus tree
    That lives for long …
    I want to climb and view the world from my tree
    See godless politicians what they do all the day long …
    How they behave …
    how they laugh at their innocent populace
    Those …who are asking for freedom…
    Asking jobs to work hard to feed their beloveds…
    Are all those things difficult to obtain …
    They can’t see themselves how tyrant they are…
    They collect wealth …
    But they never think that one they will die …
    Taking not one cent in their graves…
    I wish they realize their mistakes and behave humans.
    July 31, 2016
    Written Instantly

  9. Whatever the real grievances are this kind of armed action and calls for revolution (overthrow of the government)is simply the worst sort of adventurism. Would we like an Armenian Maidan? Just a few months after the April four day warm, when we came together in more unity than we’ve had for a long time, when a healthier national consciousness began to develop, these actions threw us back to contention and divisiveness. I do not advocate artificial unity, but let our actions reflect sober thinking. There will be elections next year. The Presidential system will be replaced by a parliamentary one, one which will open the possibility of healthier and more constructive political action.

  10. Have these corrupt government officials not learned anything from history? I.e.
    When the gap has increased between the poor and the filthy rich, is when revolutions
    Have sprouted out of desperation….
    Wake up all you corrupt officials who only think of your own pockets.
    You cannot take your money with you to the next world!
    Right now I am not proud to be an Armenian.

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