July 2016 – ARMENIA – A group of armed men have taken control of a police station in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, prompting rumors to spread on social media that a coup is under way against the government. Security services are negotiating with the men who have taken hostages and reportedly demanded the release of opposition leader and military commander Jirair Sefilian, who was arrested in June while campaigning for regime change.
Pictures broadcast on Armenian television show a heavy police presence and armored personnel carriers at the scene which has been cordoned off while talks with the group continue. Unconfirmed reports say one person has been killed and three people arrested. There are reports that internet users in the country can no longer access Facebook, suggesting Armenian authorities may be attempting to stop the spread of rumors of an armed insurrection.
The world on edge: Law enforcement and tactical units position themselves on rooftops in response to a possible hostage situation unfolding in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. (c) Twitter
Armenia’s security service said the hostage takers’ supporters were spreading what it called “disinformation” about the seizure of other buildings to suggest a coup is under way. “The National Security Service officially announces that such information is absolutely untrue,” it said, adding that one of the gunman said the hostages included the country’s deputy police chief. Jirair Sefilian has in the past been strongly critical of Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan over the government handling of a long-running conflict between pro-Armenian separatists and the breakaway Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh a disputed region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. –Sky News