Two Police Officers Killed Are Buried; Man Dies After Self-Immolation


Yuri Tepanosian

Yuri Tepanosian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — A 58-year-old man died on Tuesday three days after setting himself on fire during a demonstration held in Yerevan in support of opposition gunmen occupying an Armenian police station.

The man, Kajik Grigorian, poured petrol on himself and set himself alight shortly after more than a thousand protesters sympathetic to the gunmen blocked the city’s Marshal Baghramian Avenue on Saturday.

Although other protesters quickly put out the fire, Grigorian suffered serious burns and was hospitalized. He died of the burns in the hospital, according to the Armenpress news agency.

The gunmen seized the police compound in Yerevan’s Erebuni district on July 17 to demand the release of Jirayr Sefilian, the jailed leader of their radical opposition movement, and President Serzh Sargsyan’s resignation. They surrendered to law-enforcement authorities late on Sunday.

Two police officers were killed during the two-week standoff.

Warrant Officer Yuri Tepanosian’s funeral was attended by his colleagues and superiors.

The police say the 30-year-old father of three was killed on Saturday by sniper from a police compound in the city’s Erebuni district. They say Tepanosian sat in a police car parked about 400 meters from the sprawling compound.

Varuzhan Avetisian, the leader of the gunmen who surrendered to law-enforcement authorities late on Sunday, insisted shortly before the surrender that Tepanosian was not gunned down by the armed group. Avetisian claimed that the officer’s car was not visible from the compound.

The police responded by releasing photographs meant to prove that the gunmen were able to see and shoot at Tepanosian’s car.

On Monday, the police spokesman, Ashot Aharonian, also publicized a short video purportedly showing a gunman with a sniper rifle taking a position on the roof of a police building inside the compound.

“Yuri Tepanosian died as a real policeman, while protecting the lives and security of his fellow citizens at the expense of his life,” Aharonian wrote on Facebook earlier.

The gunmen killed another officer, Colonel Artur Vanoyan, when they captured the police facility on July 17. Four other policemen were wounded in in the pre-dawn attack.