Armenian riot police break up election protest
(ABC News) - Witnesses say Armenian riot police have used truncheons to break up an opposition protest in the capital Yerevan.
Several thousand opposition supporters had been protesting daily since a February 19 presidential election was won by Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan. The Opposition said the vote was rigged to deny them victory.
A correspondent in Freedom Square, the scene of the protests, says it is now surrounded by several hundred riot police who are blocking access.
A spokesman for protest leader Levon Ter-Petrosyan said riot police moved in at 7:30am (local time) on Saturday when some protesters were holding an overnight vigil in the square.
"They came, they beat people up and they removed everyone," said Arman Musinyan.
A police spokesman said he was unable to make any immediate comment.
A man near the square, who did not want to give his name, said he had been with the protesters when the police arrived. The man's finger was broken.
"We were asleep. They came and they started to beat us up. They had truncheons," he said.
Authorities said earlier their patience was running out with the protests.
Mr Sarksyan and his close ally, the outgoing President Robert Kocharian, said the Opposition was abusing its right to protest and hampering normal life in the city.
Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the February 19 election broadly met Armenia's commitments on democracy, though there were some flaws.