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Page last updated at 10:43 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 11:43 UK

Armenian president takes office

Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian (March 2008)
A state of emergency was imposed after Mr Sarkisian won the poll

Weeks after a disputed election prompted mass protests and violent unrest, Serzh Sarkisian has been sworn in as Armenian President.

The former prime minister took the oath as opposition supporters gathered for a memorial ceremony for eight people killed during the clashes.

The violence erupted in March after riot police dispersed demonstrators who claimed the election had been rigged.

A state of emergency was imposed and dozens of activists were arrested.

Public demonstrations were banned after the clashes, which left seven civilians and a police officer dead.

International observers had given a largely positive assessment of the 19 February election, although they said there had been serious flaws, particularly in the counting of votes.

According to Armenian media, 200 people gathered on Wednesday for the memorial ceremony outside the mayor's office in the capital Yerevan, where the clashes took place.

Police tried to turn them away, saying the rally had not been permitted.

A military parade was due to take place after Mr Sarkisian's inauguration as president.

He was chosen by his predecessor, Robert Kocharian, and was credited with winning 53% of the vote.


SEE ALSO
Armenia ends state of emergency
21 Mar 08 |  Europe
Timeline: Armenia
09 Apr 08 |  Country profiles


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