Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

More than 800 detained in Russian Federation protests

More than 800 detained in Russian Federation protests

Thousands of people protested in cities across Russian Federation yesterday against President Putin's decision to raise the state pension age, in the biggest challenge to his authority in years. In Moscow police beat members of a crowd of about 5,000 with truncheons in Pushkin Square, according to video published by the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The plan calls for the pension age to be raised five years - to 65 for men and 60 for women. The announcement three months ago led to a drop in the president's popularity ratings by 15 points, to its lowest point since Russia's occupation of Crimea...

More than 800 protesters were detained in Russian Federation over the weekend as they demonstrated against the plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 60 for women, according to BBC News.

The OVD-Info group said 1,018 people were detained, with the highest number of detainees being in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, at more than 450.

YouTube advertisements of Alexei Navalny, a frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, were taken down at the request of the Russian government.

Mr Navalny is serving a 30-day jail sentence connected with an unsanctioned protest in January unrelated to the pension proposal, which was introduced in June.

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It said 129 were held in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, 60 in the southwestern city of Krasnodar, and 48 in Perm in the Ural Mountains. Striking a police officer is "is punishable by law", he said. However, the unexpected effect is that Putin, by closing off politics to liberal parties, has only strengthened the Communist Party as the main opposition party.

Ahead of the vote a Moscow court jailed Navalny for 30 days, just a couple weeks before he planned to stage a rally against a deeply controversial pension reform on election day.

Sergei Sobyanin, mayor of the Russian capital since 2010, won a predictable victory with 70.02 percent of the vote.

Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Central Election Commission, said it was obvious the planned pension changes had prompted voters to register their discontent at the ballot box, something she said was a sign of genuine political competition.

In Moscow, police opened two criminal probes over violence against officials, the OVD monitor said. Photos on social media indicated a lot of them were attended by 100 or more protesters, but the crowd in St. Petersburg appeared to exceed 1,000.

Fourteen journalists were detained and another three beaten up, said the Trade Union of Journalists and Media Employees, an independent group.

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