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YEREVAN. – A criminal case is launched into the riots that occurred late Wednesday evening in capital city Yerevan, and there are arrests.

The Republic of Armenia (RA) Investigative Committee on Thursday informed the aforementioned in a statement.

“A group of demonstrators committed disorder, which was accompanied by destruction of property [and] violence against the (…) staff (…) of the RA Police, as a result of which public safety was put at risk. 

“As of [Thursday,] July 21 at 8am, [a total of] 28 people were detained on suspicion of having direct part in the riots, [and] 16 of whom were arrested,” the Investigative Committee statement reads, in particular.

Police informed Armenian News-NEWS.am that 136 people were detained.

As reported earlier, clashes had begun between police and protesters nearby the Yerevan police station, which an armed group has taken over on July 17, on Wednesday at around 9:30pm.

Police threw stun grenades, took special measures, and used tear gas to disperse protesters.

As of Thursday 2:30am, the number of people taken to hospitals as a result of these clashes was 51, and 28 of them were police officers. 

At around 4am, police began to clear the street running in front of the said police station from the demonstrators. Law enforcement started quickly detaining protesters, but force was used against some people. Journalists were affected, too.

Protesters were also detained from two other nearby streets.

A group of armed men stormed into a Yerevan police patrol regiment, on early morning on July 17, and took several police officers hostage. Deputy regiment commander Artur Vanoyan was killed, and four other officers of the law plus one of the attackers were wounded during the ensuing gunfire exchange. 

Negotiations are still underway to release all hostages and end the armed resistance. Four people are still held hostage.

The gunmen demand the release of Jirair Sefilian, an imprisoned radical opposition activist.

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