Russian Federation: 1,000 detained in anti-government protests

12 September, 2018, 15:30 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • The Russian president takes a ballot at the polling station in Moscow. The vote for Moscow's new mayor came amid protests against plans to hike the retirement age and support for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Almost 300 protesters were detained and some beaten with batons, the rights monitoring group OVD-info says, according to the BBC.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny had planned to lead protests on Sunday but was detained and sentenced to 30 days in jail for breaking protest laws.

It said most of the detentions - 354 - had been made in St Petersburg where authorities had initially authorised a rally before reversing the decision. While the Moscow and St Petersburg demonstrations were well covered by the global media, two-thirds of the arrests were made in regional cities.

Navalny, barred from state TV and prevented from running against Putin for president earlier this year, hopes to tap into public anger over the reform.

Navalny reportedly said his arrest was an attempt to derail Sunday's planned protests.

"Putin and his government have plundered the budget for the past 18 years", Mr Navalny's team said in a statement prior to Sunday's protests. Social media showed footage of police hitting protestors with batons in Moscow as their colleagues tried to wrench them out of the police's grip.

The demonstrators, predominantly people in their 20s and decades away from retirement, chanted "Russia without Putin" and held signs with messages such as "Putin, when will you go on pension?"

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Kim observed the event along with Chinese leader Xi Jinping's envoy Li Zhanshu, but he did not deliver a speech to the public. It will also allow the Kremlin to discuss the dramatic rapprochement between Trump and Kim Jong-un with key regional players.

About 2,500 people ignored police warnings to disperse and stood on Pushkin Square, a stone's throw from the Kremlin, shouting: "Putin is a thief", and "We are the power here!"

On Monday, several activists tried to launch another protest in a tree-lined boulevard in central Moscow but they were quickly rounded up by police. An Associated Press journalist counted at least 30 people detained at that protest.

Despite the nature of the protest, many of those who took part were young.

Tens of thousands have rallied across Russian Federation in recent weeks and unusually for the country, the issue has drawn protesters from all sides of the political debate. "I want a better life for myself and my children".

The proposal, which would raise the retirement age from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 60 for women, is highly unpopular in Russian Federation, boasting a disapproval rating of roughly 80 percent. The president responded by offering some concessions, but argued that the age hike is necessary because rising life expectancy in Russian Federation could exhaust pension resources if the eligibility age remains the same.

In the Moscow mayoral election, incumbent Mayor Sergei Sobyanin won with 70 percent of the votes.

Mr Putin makes a point of never mentioning Mr Navalny by name but has suggested he is Washington's pick for the Russian presidency.

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