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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 17:56 GMT
Thousands occupy Armenia square
By Matthew Collin
BBC News, Yerevan

Protesters in Yerevan (image from 21 February)
Protesters also massed on Thursday in the capital
Some 30,000 people have been holding a third day of protests in Armenia against the result of a presidential election they allege was rigged.

The demonstrators have been occupying a square in the capital, Yerevan, around the clock, and have set up a tent camp.

Official results gave victory to PM Serzh Sarkisian, and the authorities insist the polls were democratic.

The protesters say outspoken opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrosian was the real winner.

The huge crowd of protesters in Yerevan's Freedom Square raised their fists in the air to show their determination to keep up the pressure on the authorities.

Thousands of people broke off from the main rally to march through the city.

They jeered and whistled at the security forces in riot gear who were guarding the main government building and the prosecutor's office.

Warning to crowd

Mr Sarkisian has warned the protesters not to cause any disruption.

He says that if they do break the law, the security forces will restore order.

But Alexander Arzoumanian, a former foreign minister who is an opposition campaigner, told the BBC he did not believe the authorities would use force against the protestors.

"They are cowards," he said.

"They don't have the courage to do such a thing. They would never have the courage to come and attack such a powerful crowd."

Mr Arzoumanian said the demonstrations would continue as long as it took to get rid of Armenia's "corrupt government".

But Mr Sarkisian has described the protests as blackmail, and says he is certain they will end in failure.

SEE ALSO
Armenia PM wins presidency poll
20 Feb 08 |  Europe
Timeline: Armenia
19 Feb 08 |  Country profiles

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