Usually in a hostage crisis, the public sympathizes with the hostages upon their release. But in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, where a group of anti-government gunmen took over a police station last Sunday, more sympathy seems to be with the hostage-takers themselves.
“It is unclear why the guys turned to such a measure,” complained 35-year-old radio technician Armen Nersesian about the group’s July 23 agreement to release four policemen in exchange for a press briefing. “It is the most incorrect step they could take. Now [government forces] can invade at any moment and carry out an armed attack.”
Members of a fringe opposition movement called Founding Parliament, the fighters are mostly veterans of the 1988-1994 conflict with Azerbaijan over breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh. Some of them hold highly celebrated war records.