| 11.2°C Belfast

75 injured in clashes between Armenian riot police and protesters


Gunmen seized a police station in the Armenian capital

Gunmen seized a police station in the Armenian capital

Gunmen seized a police station in the Armenian capital

Clashes between riot police and supporters of gunmen from an opposition group barricaded inside a police station in Armenia's capital left 75 people injured and more than 20 in custody on charges related to the unrest, officials said.

The clashes broke out late on Friday when several hundred people tried to approach the Yerevan police station, which is cordoned off by security forces and where there have been periodic exchanges of fire since the armed takeover.

The police station was seized on July 17 by about 30 gunmen, who killed one officer and wounded several others in the attack.

They are demanding freedom for an opposition figure arrested in June in the former Soviet republic. The opposition group they represent also has demanded that Armenia's president and prime minister step down.

Eight of the gunmen have been wounded since the takeover, including three shot in the legs on Friday, apparently by snipers.

Police also used stun grenades to drive back the opposition supporters, some of whom threw stones at the rows of riot police blocking their path.

The Health Ministry said 75 people needed medical treatment and 25 of them remained in hospital on Saturday, including six law enforcement officers. Some of those injured were suffering from burns.

Journalists, including from Radio Liberty, reported being attacked and beaten by men armed with sticks and metal bars who appeared to be plain-clothes police officers. Prosecutors on Saturday promised to investigate.

Police said 165 people were rounded up during the demonstration and all but 26 were released. The investigative agency said charges have been filed against 23 people.