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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 01:14 GMT
Armenian leader warns protesters
By Matthew Collin
BBC News, Yerevan

Opposition protesters in Yerevan
Protests have continued since Tuesday's elections
The outgoing President of Armenia, Robert Kocharian, has threatened a "firm response" to what he called opposition attempts to seize power.

Opposition supporters have been protesting around the clock about the results of Tuesday's presidential elections which they say were rigged.

According to official results, Armenia's current Prime Minister, Serge Sarkisian, was elected president.

International observers have judged the poll to be generally democratic.

Official results give Mr Sarkisian 53% of the vote, with Mr Ter-Petrosian his nearest rival on 21.5%.

Levon Ter-Petrosian
Official results show that Ter-Petrosian lost heavily

On Saturday around 50,000 people held the biggest demonstration against the election result so far despite having no official permission to do so.

The demonstrators have set up a tent camp in Yerevan's Freedom Square, they say they will stay there until the authorities back down.

Also on Saturday, thousands of Armenian women stood face to face with a line of riot police chanting the name of the opposition leader they believe was the real winner of this week's elections, Levon Ter-Petrosian.

The women had marched through the streets of the capital bringing traffic to a standstill.

"The people wont remain silent about this authoritarian regime," one of the women said, "we believe they have no right to be in power".

The outgoing President, Robert Kocharian, says he views actions like these as an attempt to seize power.

He says the government's response would be decisive and firm to maintain stability and order.

But an opposition spokesman dismissed this warning and said the protests would continue until the election results are overturned.

He said any use of force would be catastrophic for the government.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Demonstrators chant opposition leader's name



SEE ALSO
Thousands occupy Armenia square
22 Feb 08 |  Europe
Armenia PM wins presidency poll
20 Feb 08 |  Europe
Timeline: Armenia
21 Feb 08 |  Country profiles

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