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Freed Police Officer Back At Work


Armenia - Colonel Valeri Osipian (second from right) joins police forces deployed on Yerevan's Khorenatsi Street after being released by gunmen, 24Jul2016.

Armenia - Colonel Valeri Osipian (second from right) joins police forces deployed on Yerevan's Khorenatsi Street after being released by gunmen, 24Jul2016.

A deputy head of Yerevan’s police department returned to work on Sunday one day after being released by opposition gunmen occupying a police station in the Armenian capital.

Colonel Valeri Osipian oversees a police unit dealing with public gatherings and patrolling streets.

Its headquarters in Yerevan’s southern Erebuni was stormed and seized on July 17 by armed members of a radical opposition group demanding the release of their arrested leader and President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation. The unit’s deputy commander, Colonel Artur Vanoyan, was killed and four other officers were wounded in the attack.

The gunmen also took several other policemen hostage. Osipian and General Vartan Yeghiazarian, a deputy chief of the national police, were among the hostages. They were understood to have entered the police station shortly after it was seized by the group calling itself Sasna Tsrer (Daredevils of Sasun).

Yeghiazarian, Osipian and the two other remaining hostages were released on Saturday.

Osipian refused to speak to journalists when he joined the following day riot police forces deployed on a street leading to the Erebuni police premises. A section of the street blocked by security forces has been the scene of daily demonstrations held by supporters of the gunmen.

Osipian has been a fixture at just about every major anti-government protest held in Yerevan in the past several years.

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