Varuzhan Avetisyan, the leader of “Daredevils of Sasun,” announced in a phone conversation with 1in.am that the group would put down their weapons and turn themselves in to law enforcement authorities Sunday evening.
According to Avetisyan, Armenian security forces have been periodically attacking and wounding the members of the group, leaving only 20 or so gunmen inside the seized police station. The “Daredevils of Sasun," for their part, decided to not return fire in order to avoid further unnecessary bloodshed and to instead continue their fight as “prisoners of war," the gunman said.
“We believe that we have succeeded in our mission of inciting national rebellion. […] Our lives do not matter to us; we’ve been ready to sacrifice ourselves since the day we entered this building. But [law enforcement officers] are only doing their job, albeit they don’t realize that they are carrying out misguided orders. We decided that we do not want to shed these people’s blood."
The Armenian people, Avetisyan went on, should not doubt “for a second that we have won. Do not emigrate, stay, fight and defeat this bloodthirsty, anti-Armenian and anti-human regime. It's a fight for our nation's liberation; we won't allow our homeland to become a province of Russia or be left in a sorry plight. Our people shout fight for their bright future."
The siege of the Erebuni police station began on July 17 as a group of armed men calling themselves the “Daredevils of Sasun” stormed the building, killing a police colonel in the process, wounding several others and taking the remaining personnel hostage. The initial demand of the gunmen affiliated with radical anti-government movement Founding Parliament was the release of its jailed leader, Karabakh war veteran Zhirayr Sefilyan and a number of other jailed oppositionists. They subsequently announced that they also wanted Armenia’s president Serzh Sargsyan to step down.