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Armenian president sworn in amid protests

Tuesday - 4/9/2013, 4:01pm  ET

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) -- Several thousand protesters demonstrated near the Armenian presidential palace on Tuesday after Serge Sarkisian was sworn in for a second term.

Sarkisian easily won February's election with nearly 59 percent of the vote. But American-born runner-up Raffi Hovanessian, who won 37 percent of the vote, has called the election rigged, went on a hunger strike, and led protests calling for Sarkisian to step down.

About 3,000 demonstrators gathered in the evening on the avenue leading to the presidential residence, but were blocked by a police cordon. Sporadic small clashes occurred and police told demonstrators to disperse.

There were no reports of serious injury, but a top official of Hovanessian's party, Armen Martirosian, was seen being taken away with a bleeding nose. It was not clear how the injury occurred.

The crowd later dwindled to about 500 people, while others moved from the presidential palace area to a large square a few hundred meters away.


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