Police wound gunmen in Armenia hostage crisis


At least 60 people were injured Friday night in a brawl between police and a crowd gathered
in support of an armed group that had overtaken a police station in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

The police used stun and smoke grenades against the protesters, who were chanting anti-government slogans as they tried to advance toward the building.

US-funded Radio Liberty said a large group of plainclothes men beat its reporters with sticks and metal bars and damaged their equipment. The men appeared to be police officers, according to the broadcaster.

Captured doctors treat attackers

Earlier Friday, police snipers shot three gunmen in the legs after they emerged from the station, a high-ranking police official told the AP news agency.

Two of the militants were taken to hospital under armed guard, and the remaining one was still in the building, treated by two doctors and a nurse they are holding hostage. A police officer was also hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Five other militants were wounded in previous firefights with the police.

Demonstrators who had gathered in a show of support for gunmen holding several hostages in a police station, clash with riot police in Yerevan, Armenia Reuters/Photolure/V. Baghdasaryan

Medical staff says five police officers were hospitalized

Policemen released

The group of about 30 armed assailants
seized the Yerevan police station on July 17, killing one policeman and taking several high-ranking officers hostage. The militants have called for the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan and demanded the release of opposition leader and former military commander Jirair Sefilian, jailed in June over illegal weapons charges.

Investigators claim Sefilian’s faction was planning to seize government buildings and communications facilities.

Government opponents have been holding marches in support of Sefilian’s party and the hostage takers.

They have since released the police officers, but captured the medical staff after they were sent in to treat the attackers’ injures.