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Georgian Protesters Demand Second Round of Presidential Voting

Tens of thousands of Georgian opposition supporters have rallied in Tbilisi, to protest what they say is vote fraud that helped U.S.-allied Mikhail Saakashvili win a second presidential term.

Georgia's nine-party opposition coalition organized Sunday's protest, which came a short while after elections officials certified Mr. Saakashvili's victory. Final results showed him winning more than 53 percent of the January fifth vote.

Opposition leader Levan Gachechiladze, who finished a distant second, denounced the official tally today and repeated accusations of vote rigging. He also urged protesters to boycott Mr. Saakashvili's upcoming inauguration, and demanded a second round of voting. He threatened daily protests unless opposition demands are met.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said the election met most democratic standards, despite some irregularities.

Ambassadors from Western governments last week urged the opposition to accept the vote results.

Mr. Saakashvili called the election a year early, after huge opposition protests in November paralyzed the capital for days. He then resigned as required by law to campaign for a second term.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .