Police break up Kyrgyz protest

More than 40 arrests as opposition marches against disputed presidential election.

    Police detained most of the protesters soon
    after the demonstration began [AFP]

    Some protesters scuffled with police.

    "They [the protesters] broke public security rules," Gulya Kozhokulova, a district prosecutor, said. "Police acted in line with the law."

    Disputed poll

    The demonstrators were supporters of Almazbek Atambayev, the main opposition candidate in last Thursday's election, who denounced the vote as "illegitimate" citing widespread fraud.

    But Robin Forestier-Walker, reporting for Al Jazeera from Bishkek, said that the opposition's protests over the election results had largely failed to get off the ground.

    "That's the way this has been panning out - the opposition making claims that it would come out in force, but then never quite managing to do that," he said.

    "That seems to have been the pattern in the last few days, since the election itself."

    Protests planned

    The election was won by Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the incumbent president, with 76.43 per cent of the vote compared to 8.39 per cent for Atambayev, according to the official results.

    Election monitors described the vote as a "disappointment" and said it had failed to meet international standards.

    Bakiyev was first elected in 2005, in a poll seen as free and fair by Western observers.

    But since then he has been accused by the opposition of becoming increasingly repressive.

    The opposition has said it will stage more protests across the country ahead of an informal summit of a Russia-dominated security bloc to be held on Friday.

    They have threatened to block roads to the resort in east Kyrgyzstan where the meeting is due to take place.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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