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Thousands protest presidential elections in Azerbaijan seen as unfair

  • Azerbaijani opposition candidate Camil Hasali holds a ballot paper as he speaks during a news conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Thursday the Azerbaijan's presidential election was marred by restrictions during the campaign and serious violations during the voting and during the counting of vote. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)The Associated Press

  • Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev seen during the voting at a polling station in Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Oil-rich Azerbaijan is booming and the wealth is trickling down to its poorest people. It all means that its president doesn't even need to clamp down too hard to ensure he extends a decades-long dynastic rule in elections on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)The Associated Press

Thousands have gathered in the capital of Azerbaijan to protest the re-election of President Ilham Aliyev in a vote widely criticized by international election monitors.

The protesters in Baku are demanding that the election be nullified and that Aliyev resign. Aliyev succeeded his father to the presidency of this small oil-rich nation in 2003, extending decades of dynastic rule.

Leading the march Saturday was Jamil Hasanli, the historian who ran as the main opposition candidate but snagged less than 6 percent of the vote to Aliyev's 85 percent.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called the Wednesday vote flawed. The day before, the Central Election Commission released the results of the vote on a smartphone app, showing Aliyev comfortably in the lead.