Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 13:51 GMT
Hostage stand-off in Armenian parliament
Cameras captured the moment when the gunmen stormed the podium
Gunmen in Armenia are holding about 50 hostages in parliament where earlier they shot dead the prime minister, Vazgen Sarkisian, and several other leading politicians.
The hostages include government ministers but the authorities have dismissed suggestions of a coup.
One of the gunmen told a television reporter that they were seeking revenge against a corrupt political elite which was ruining Armenia.
In a broadcast to the nation, the president said the authorities were in control of the situation.
Also killed in the shooting were parliament speaker Karen Demirchian, deputy speaker Yuri Bakhshian, Energy Minister Leonard Petrosian, senior economic official Mikhail Kotanian and four other deputies.
At least two hostages were released after about 10 hours of being held captive. But Agriculture Minister Gagig Shakhbazian and MP Garant Voskanian reportedly made no comment when they were released.
Dramatic television pictures showed two men storming into the chamber firing at MPs with automatic weapons. Deputies cowered under their desks.
In an interview filmed inside the building, the leader of the group calmly told a television reporter that he had killed the prime minister and several other leading politicians. He said the whole country supported him.
Both the American President, Bill Clinton, and Russian President Boris Yeltsin have condemned the attack.
"They said they were going to punish the authorities for what they did to the nation."
The hostage-takers forced journalists out of the building saying "it is time to get rid of the bloodsuckers who are drinking our blood", eyewitnesses said.
Mr Unanian is being described as a one-time member of the nationalist Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaktsutyun.
Armenia became an independent republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has since endured years of political instability.
Mr Sarkisian, 40-year-old former athletic instructor and Soviet propaganda official, only came into office in June.
Mr Sarkisian and Mr Demirchian lead the hard-line Unity Party.
Mr Sarkisan was among a group of politicians who forced the resignation of President Levon Ter-Petrosian in February 1998.
It campaigned against the president's "defeatist" policies on the issue of independence for the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh by agreeing even to discuss returning territory to Azerbaijan.