Law Enforcement Authorities Still Negotiating in Ongoing Hostage Situation
United States State Department Condemns Attack; Urges Authorities to Show ‘Restraint’
YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenian authorities said on July 20 that they do not plan to storm the Yerevan police station that has been seized in an ongoing hostage situation since July 17. Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said that they are still in negotiations with the armed opposition group calling themselves Sasna Dzrer, reported RFE/RL’s Armenian service Azatutyun.am.
“Special units of Armenia’s law-enforcement bodies remain at their highest state of readiness, but there are no prerequisites necessary for their active operations for the time being,” the NSS announced in a press statement.
More than 200 protesters and supporters of the armed group gathered near the seized police station, which was blocked off by police.
United States Condemns Attack
United States State Department condemned the seizure of the Yerevan police station and urged Armenian law enforcement authorities to show restraint with the 18 men holding four police officers hostage.
“[W]e offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of the police officers who were killed or injured during – I think the incident took place Sunday in Yerevan’s Erebuni district. We obviously condemn strongly the use of violence to effect political change in Armenia or anywhere. We encourage Armenian authorities to handle the situation with appropriate restraint, but again, our condolences go out to those police officers who lost their lives in the attack,” said department spokesperson Mark Toner on July 19.
When asked if the United States is concerned if the attempted military coup in Turkey may be inspiring people of neighboring countries to resort to similar methods, Toner said that using force to overthrow a democratically elected government is “always a bad idea.” “We want to see political change through democratic processes. And so we would certainly want to caution anybody who thinks that violence is a plausible way to achieve any political aims,” Toner said.
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West