Armenian gunmen surrender
A picture taken on 30 July shows police vehicles at the Erebuni police station seized by gunmen and supporters of fringe jailed opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan, in YerevanKaren Minasyan/AFP/Getty Images

Gunmen holed up in a police compound in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, have surrendered. The 20 "terrorists" were detained on Sunday (31 July) evening.

"The security forces' anti-terrorist operation has ended and led to the members of the armed group laying down their weapons and surrendering to the authorities," AFP quoted the national security services as saying. "Twenty terrorists were arrested. The territory of the police station has been liberated."

The opposition group decided to yield after security forces entered the police compound with armoured vehicles, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The gunmen released a statement before the impasse ended. "We will continue our struggle from prison. We believe that we have achieved our goal: we became the spark that allowed people to rise up and it makes no sense to spill blood," Varuzhan Avetisyan was quoted as saying.

Police also began targeting gunmen who stepped outside and while most were shot in the leg, one was struck in the chest. Avetisyan said this was another factor to step down.

The surrender marks the end of a tense deadlock which began a fortnight ago after 31 armed men seized the Erebuni police station, demanding the release of opposition leader Jirair Sefilian and other "political prisoners". The group also called on President Serzh Sargsyan to resign.

One officer was killed and gunmen took several hostages as they stormed the station earlier this month. On Saturday (30 July), a second police officer was shot dead by a sniper from inside the station during the standoff.

The standoff sparked anti-Sarkisian protests in the capital and demonstrators clashed with law enforcement. Violent scenes broke out on 29 July as police used truncheons, stun grenades and smoke bombs to scatter the crowds. Dozens of people including journalists were injured and more than 100 arrests reportedly took place.