Page last updated at 07:21 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 08:21 UK

Kyrgyz police block vote protest


A rally by opposition supporters in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, has been broken up by police.

About 40 people were arrested as they marched towards the centre of Bishkek, an opposition leader told the BBC.

The opposition alleges that last week's election, which saw President Kurmanbek Bakiyev re-elected with 76% of the vote, was fraudulent.

European monitors said the vote was flawed, with widespread cases of ballot box stuffing and multiple voting.

A group of about 300 protesters had left a market on the outskirts of Bishkek and had gone a short distance towards an opposition headquarters when they were intercepted by police, the leader of the opposition United People's Movement, Topchebek Turgunaliev, told the BBC.

Forty-two people were arrested and forced into waiting police buses, he said.

The main opposition candidate in the election, Almazbek Atambayev - a former prime minister, secured 8% of the vote. He declared the poll "illegitimate" and has called for mass protests against the government.

Mr Bakiyev came to power four years ago off the back of a popular uprising which became known as the Tulip Revolution. He had pledged to conduct free and fair elections.

His political opponents claim their supporters were threatened in the run-up to the election.

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