Kazakhstan election: Hundreds arrested in poll protests

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Protesters calling for a boycott of Kazakhstan’s presidential election were detained by police

Police in Kazakhstan have arrested hundreds of people protesting against a poll to elect the country’s first new president in 30 years.

The election was called after long-time leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, 78, stepped down in March.

His hand-picked successor, interim President Kassym Jomart-Tokayev, is widely expected to win the vote.

Protesters and opposition candidates claimed Sunday’s poll was not free and fair.

Mr Tokayev, 66, disputes their claims and has described the process as democratic and open.

Large-scale protests – the biggest the country has seen in years – against the election have been reported in Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan, and its largest city Almaty.

At those protests, hundreds of peaceful demonstrators calling for a boycott of the vote, and several journalists and activists monitoring them, were detained by police.

A BBC correspondent in Nur-Sultan has seen people being dragged onto buses by riot police.

Mr Tokayev, who cast his ballot in the capital, has urged police to exercise restraint. He told the BBC his government would be tolerant towards those with different views.

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