Armenia Protesters Arrested as Sargsyan Sworn In for Second Term

Armenian police arrested protesters as opposition leader Raffi Hovhannisyan led demonstrations at Serzh Sargsyan’s inauguration to a second term as president.

About 2,000 people gathered today near the presidential palace in the capital, Yerevan, where 10 were detained, according to a Facebook Inc. post by activist Haykak Arshamyan. Armen Martirosyan, deputy head of Hovhannisyan’s Heritage party, was photographed by the website flanked by two police officers with blood on his face.

Hovhannisyan, who lost a February election to Sargsyan by more than 20 percentage points, was led away by national police chief Vladimir Gasparyan and about 50 officers to a different part of the capital, according to Davit Sanasaryan, a representative for his team. Armen Malkhasyan, a police spokesman, refused to clarify how many people were arrested, saying information would be released through the police website.

Thousands of Armenians have joined Hovhannisyan’s call to challenge the vote tally as opposition groups seek to gain traction against Sargsyan’s rule. Local observers and non-governmental organizations registered more than 400 violations during the elections, with infringements including ballot stuffing and attempts to vote more than once.

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