Armenian opposition leaders arrested after hostage standoff

Published August 3rd, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
Armenian police detain opposition supporters blocking a street leading to Erebuni police station seized by gunmen - supporters of fringe jailed opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan - in Yerevan late on July 29, 2016. (AFP/Karen Minasyan)
Armenian police detain opposition supporters blocking a street leading to Erebuni police station seized by gunmen - supporters of fringe jailed opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan - in Yerevan late on July 29, 2016. (AFP/Karen Minasyan)

Investigators in Armenia said Wednesday that 23 people were in custody on suspicion of organizing riots in Yerevan during a two-week standoff with police, the Associated Press reported.

Those arrested include the deputy chairman of the Heritage party, the main opposition, and the leader of the civic movement Rise Up, Armenia.

Armed men seized a police station in Yerevan on July 17, demanding the release of an opposition leader who was jailed in June. The leader was known for his criticism of the government's handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. He had called for people to take to the streets and demand the resignation of the prime minister.

Violence in the breakaway region surged in recent months with clashes between Azeris and ethnic Armenians.

On Sunday, the gunmen in the police compound surrendered, ending the standoff that killed two officers and left several wounded on both sides.


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