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Archive for Sunday, March 2, 2008

Emergency declared after violent protests

March 2, 2008

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— Armenia's president imposed a state of emergency Saturday after police used tear gas and fired shots into the air to disperse demonstrators protesting alleged fraud in last month's presidential election.

The announcement from the office of President Robert Kocharian came shortly after police broke up the rally of about 15,000 demonstrators. Earlier, police used batons to remove hundreds of protesters who had camped for more than a week in tents in a square near the city mayor's office.

Tensions remained high into the night. Groups of angry young people were prowling the streets of the capital, calling for others to join them, city residents told The Associated Press. An AP reporter saw cars overturned and the police department said some of its cars had been set on fire. Looters hit stores and kiosks, police said.

Kocharian's office said the state of emergency would remain in effect for 20 days.

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