The Armenian authorities have reported that they thwarted a coup attempt in the country today. An active member of the New Armenia movement, Zhirayr Sefilyan, has been detained over an attempt to seize several government buildings with a team of supporters.
The Armenian Investigative Committee said that Zhirayr Sefilyan, together with a group of supporters intended to take control of the Public Television’s tower and other objects of strategic importance in an apparent attempt to stage a coup, Tert.am reports.
It is also reported that police officers caught and arrested the band on Yerevan’s Tsitsernakaberd Highway after responding to a traffic accident. Two AK-74 and ammunition were found on the scene. Indictment has been brought against eight individuals, six of them have been detained.
According to Armenian media, currently the police are conducting a search in Sefilyan's apartment. It is reported that law enforcement officials have refused to let the opposition leader's wife enter the apartment. The deputy of the National Assembly's 'Heritage' faction, Zaruhi Postanjyan, also arrived at the scene, but was not allowed to enter as well.
Earlier, the police had already raided the office of the Nor Hayastan party, during which Zhirayr Sefilyan was arrested.
Zhirayr Sefilyan is a veteran of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, he was a former commander of the Shushi special battalion, Lieutenant Colonel and one of the leaders of the opposition movement ‘Constitutive Parliament’, he was also awarded the First Degree Order of the Combat Cross.
The head of the parliamentary faction of the Armenian National Congress, Levon Zurabyan, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, refused to comment on Sefilyan's arrest, citing his lack of information on the subject, but noted that in general, sentiments against the current government are popular in the Armenian society. "Social discontent is huge and such sentiments are not new in the country and have been around for several years," he said.
"Serzh Sargsyan's activity can be evaluated by the last constitutional referendum. My campaign 'No!' won with a huge advantage according to all the independent data: 600 thousand people rejected a new version of the Constitution and only 200 thousand people supported it, but the authorities turned it around and announced different results. After that we appealed to the Constitutional court with a detailed explanation and evidence. The new constitution was supported by a very small percentage of the population," Levon Zurabyan said.
"Results of the referendum reflect the mood in the country, because, in fact, it turned into a referendum on trust to Serzh Sargsyan. Of course, I am saying all this without any connection to the the arrest of Sefilyan. It is still necessary to clarify this situation," the opposition politician concluded.