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Armenian activists block road for 2 held in police killings

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Several dozen activists blocked a highway in Armenia for several hours Wednesday while demanding that authorities release two men accused of killing three police officers during an armed takeover of a police station in 2016.

The Sasna Tsrer party said its activists obstructed the Yerevan-Gyumri highway to draw public attention to their cause and moved out of the way when police arrived at the protest site. More than 20 party activists armed with guns seized a police station in the Armenian capital in July 2016 to demand their leader's release from custody. They took several hostages and barricaded themselves inside the station for two weeks before surrendering. Three police officers were killed in the standoff.

The armed activists were arrested, and most were released on parole in 2018 pending trial. The two men who remained in custody are accused of being the ones who killed the three officers. The protesters calling for the two to be freed Wednesday argued that the men were "only fulfilling their natural right to rebel.”

Police spokesman Ashot Agaronian confirmed that the protesters unblocked the highway.

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