Armenian Protests Call for New Vote

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Thousands of opposition supporters rallied for a second straight day in Armenia's capital Thursday, claiming the presidential election was rigged and vowing to protest until a new vote is held.

More than 25,000 gathered in a square outside Yerevan's opera house, urging the authorities to declare Tuesday's election invalid and call a new one.

Election officials said Wednesday that Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan -- the favored successor to outgoing President Robert Kocharyan -- received almost 53 percent of the vote, enough to win outright.

Opponents say the election was marred by widespread violations and violence targeting opposition activists who monitored the vote, in which the official count gave opposition candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan 21.5 percent. They say the real winner was Ter-Petrosyan.