|Al Jazeera, July 29, 2009
Police in Kyrgyzstan have dispersed a protest against alleged fraud in the country’s presidential election, reportedly detaining nearly all of the about 200 protesters.
The authorities quickly intercepted demonstrators on Wednesday as they attempted to march through Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital.
There were said to be two or three officers, some dressed in plain clothes, for each demonstrator.
The protesters had been shouting slogans such as “Return the stolen power!” and were about to march on the presidential palace in the centre of Bishkek.
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.”
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.
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 and a string of mysterious attacks on politicians and journalists in the run-up to the election raised concerns.
The opposition has said it will state 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 in the resort in east Kyrgyzstan where the meeting is due to take place.