Azerbaijani police have used water cannon and clubs to disperse opposition supporters who were protesting what they consider to be rigged elections and were demanding a new vote.

Police waded into the crowd of at least 10,000 activists in a Baku square after protest leaders announced their intention to remain on the scene beyond the time authorities had allotted for the demonstration. The protesters hurled stones at the officers. Witnesses reported a number of injuries.

The clashes were the first time police have intervened to disperse protesters, who have staged a series of demonstrations protesting the November 6 parliamentary vote.

Official election results show the governing party still in control of parliament.

International monitors said the vote fell below democratic standards.

The U.S. embassy in Baku deplored what it called "the unjustified and unprovoked use of force against citizens peacefully exercising their right of assembly."

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.