Riot truck: why the Armenian opposition went on a hostage-taking

The police blocked the street with trucks and armoured personnel carrier (APC) before the operation to release hostages from seized building of the police station in the Erebuni district on the outskirts of Yerevan

Hostages opposition

In the night on Sunday in Yerevan, about 30 supporters of the opposition movement “Founding Parliament” drove his truck through the gates of a regiment of patrol-guard service of the Armenian police, attacked the police and seized about a dozen hostages. As a result, one policeman was killed and two people were injured. Two hostages managed to release.

As told RBC Deputy of the Armenian Parliament from the opposition faction “Armenian national Congress” Nikol Pashinyan, the opposition demanded the release of their leader Zhirayr Sefilyan, the President’s resignation and formation of a national consensus government.

Sefilian was arrested a month ago on charges of organizing a group of people illegal acquisition, transportation and storage of weapons and ammunition.

Sefilyan — known people in Armenia, one of the heroes of the Karabakh war, who fought for the freedom of Karabakh and participated in the liberation of Shushi, the Armenian reminds the political scientist, the Director of the Armenian Analytical center for globalization and regional cooperation Stepan Grigoryan. In recent years, Sefilian began to engage in politics and quite harshly criticized the current government. He and his supporters from the movement “Founding Parliament” does not exclude any form of struggle, including power, said Grigoryan. The charges against him it is difficult to call reasonable, the expert added.

The reaction of the authorities

Law enforcement authorities continue negotiations with armed parties and will maintain them until, until you lose hope for a peaceful resolution of the incident, reports local Agency ArmInfo the words of the first Deputy head of Armenian police after Hunan Poghosyan.

Leading to Yerevan route taken control of the security forces — armed police checking cars.

Special forces unit, was given in a state of combat readiness, but the order to attack or to carry out other active operations have been reported, said the national security Service (NSS) of Armenia. NBC called who seized the police building by terrorists.

“The situation is tense in the city. Political activists who seized the regiment, preparing for the assault, but police said that while the decision to storm the rebel is not accepted”, — told RBC Deputy Pashinyan. According to him, the invaders are not going to retreat in case of attack.

Armenian special services freed hostage two police officers
Video: RBC

The unstable situation

Over the past eight years, nothing similar to the attack in Armenia didn’t happen, the political scientist Stepan Grigoryan. However, given the difficult socio-economic situation, the tenure of the government and inadequate reaction of the authorities on social discontent going on radicalization. As a result, the patience has burst, and the most active opposition groups are transferred to military action, he added.

A catalyst for the dissatisfaction of society have become events in Karabakh, said Grigoryan. However, this is not a classic terrorist attack, the rebels have clear political demands, stresses the analyst.

Developments in Yerevan — the result of the fact that the authorities lost contact with the population, the expert believes. He stresses that “responsible authorities for military actions of the opposition is very high.”

The political situation unstable for the last three years. After the political protests against the results of presidential elections, where incumbent President Sargsyan, the unrest in Armenia is mainly related to the economic situation. In the summer of 2015 in Yerevan, Gyumri and other cities held protests against raising electricity tariffs. The result was the sale of the company “Electric networks of Armenia” Armenian billionaire Samvel Karapetyan.

Another reason for the protests was the murder of the Russian serviceman Valery Permyakov, of the Avetisyan family in Gyumri in January 2015. First, in Gyumri, then in Yerevan rallies demanding to judge Permyakov in an Armenian court. In the end, Permyakov be transferred to Armenian court.

However, distinct political protests in recent years was not.

Policy Sargsyan

Authorities have focused on constitutional reform, which was approved by referendum in December last year and involves the redistribution of power from President to Parliament. The opposition claims that it is necessary to maintain the power of Serzh Sargsyan, who is head of government. Sargsyan will not be able to run for another term in 2018, a change of the Constitution will allow him to remain in power as Prime Minister in a parliamentary Republic is actually the first person in the state.

Next year in Armenia should pass the next parliamentary elections. In the 2012 election won by the Republican party, which is led by Sargsyan. It was voted by 44% of voters that are allowed to take 69 of the 131 seats in Parliament. The second largest fraction formed the party of “prosperous Armenia” millionaire Gagik Tsarukyan received 37 seats.

The Parliament passed four parties: three of the opposition Armenian national Congress, “Heritage”, “Country of law” (Orinats Yerkir), which together have 18 seats in Parliament, and the “Armenian revolutionary Federation”, which has five seats. In February of this year, the Republican party signed a cooperation agreement in Parliament with the faction.