Russian police detain over 150 protesting against pension reform: rights group

Police officers block a street during a rally against planned increases to the nationwide pension age in St. Petersburg Russia

Police officers block a street during a rally against planned increases to the nationwide pension age in St. Petersburg Russia

Russian officials asked the technology giant to remove the videos last month, arguing that they were illegal in the context of rules around Russian elections. The organizers of the demonstrations claimed that between 60 and 80 thousand people took to the streets in 80 separate protests from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.

More than 800 protestors were detained and some beaten with batons, according to rights monitoring group OVD-info.

He was referring to a planned demonstration to protest a bill that would raise the retirement age in the country, organized by Navalny and scheduled for Sunday, coinciding with nationwide balloting that includes by-elections to the State Duma (lower house of Parliament), as well as several gubernatorial and mayoral races in cities such as Moscow.

The proposed pension changes, which are now going through parliament, have shaved around 15 percentage points off Putin's popularity rating and are the most unpopular government measure since a 2005 move to scrap Soviet-era benefits. Navalny said the move was created to derail the protests which took place in 80 towns and cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg.

Some of them chanted "Russia will be free" and "Putin is a thief". Some of the protesters then marched through central Moscow before riot police halted them with metal barriers and sometimes rough detentions.

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The videos showed Mr Navalny calling for Russians to take part in protests on 9 September against raising the retirement age. "I want a better life for myself and my children". The current life-expectancy for Russian men is 66.

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

"The corporate lawyers at Google simply don't understand that there can be situations - like the current one - and countries - like Russian Federation - in which the demands of the authorities are often illegal", Volkov wrote.

Vladimir Chernikov, the head of Moscow region security, said that the demonstrators "failed to cause a provocation" but "spoiled the mood" of residents celebrating the annual City Day weekend.

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