Russian rights group says over 1,000 detained at protests

Lamar Ellis
September 12, 2018

The OVD-Info group, which tracks police detentions and posts the names of the detainees on its website, said Monday that 1,018 people were detained, almost half of them in St. Petersburg.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the police acted in accordance with the law in response to unauthorized protests.

Putin, who is 65, has attested that the pension age should be raised to 60 for women and 65 for men because there is an escalating burden on the pension system.

Mr Putin's trust rating in public opinion polls dropped notably after the proposal was put forward and last month offered some concessions, including dropping the age for women from 63 to 60.

A government plan to increase the age for collecting state pensions brought protests across Russia's 11 time zones Sunday even though the opposition leader who called them was in jail. Minors and elderly people were among those arrested. Moscow and the Siberian city of Omsk saw 36 and 32 detentions, respectively, the group said. Striking a police officer is "is punishable by law", he said.

Some of them chanted "Russia will be free" and "Putin is a thief" as riot police looked on and ordered them to disperse or face prosecution.

Demonstrations also were held in cities in Siberia and the Far East as well as St. Petersburg. Navalny said the move was created to derail the protests which took place in 80 towns and cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg. Police in the video are seen trying to carry away a person by force.

Photos on social media and footage from Navalny's YouTube channel indicated most of the protests attracted 100 people at a minimum.

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Authorities detained several prominent Navalny associates on the eve of the protests as well.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is Russia's name for the police department said 140,000 policemen and 13,000 troops across the country patrolled the streets on Election Day "keeping the situation completely under control".

Popular opposition leader Yevgeny Roizman, who is a former mayor of Yekaterinburg, said on Twitter that a younger generation took the lead because middle-aged Russians were too scared to protest.

Fourteen journalists were detained and another three beaten up, said the Trade Union of Journalists and Media Employees, an independent group. So, in 20 Russian cities from September 5 to September 9 morning was arrested 50 people.

In a nationwide day of polls, members of the ruling United Russia party also won in elections for governors and lawmakers in other Russian cities. "We won't go." The meeting was not sanctioned by the authorities but only turned violent when part of the crowd tried to march on the Kremlin buildings. "They will do what they can to get protest voters to stay home".

Festivals and food fairs have been laid on at polling stations, while Muscovites can vote until two hours later than usual.

A lawyer for Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund was arrested in Moscow before the rally.

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