Russian rights group says over 1,000 detained at protests

12 September, 2018, 15:30 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Navalny team Twitter page

Mr. Navalny, who is Mr. Putin's most prominent public critic, didn't attend any of the rallies because he is serving a 30-day jail sentence for an unapproved protest he tried to organize in January over the pension-overhaul issue.

The results in weekend voting for heads of about one third of Russia's regions were the worst for United Russia, which backs President Vladimir Putin, since elections for regional leaders were re-introduced in 2012.

Mr Putin has said the move to raise the retirement age for men and women had been delayed for years and risked causing inflation and increasing poverty.

He had planned to lead Sunday's protest in Moscow, but a court last month convicted him of breaking protest laws and jailed him for 30 days. Almost 300 people were reported arrested.

Demonstrations also were held in cities in Siberia and the Far East as well as St. Petersburg.

"I can't keep being afraid anymore", she said of her decision to risk detention by showing up at Moscow's Pushkin Square for the protest that attracted several thousand people. Riot police ordered them to disperse or face prosecution.

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In Saint Petersburg, a largely young crowd of around 1,000 people shouted "shame" and held signs calling for Putin's resignation.

Viktor Fedoseyev and Vasil Kostylev, who were detained in central Moscow in connection with the protests, have been charged with assaulting an officer, according to the Open Russia civic movement established by former Russian tycoon and Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

As in previous rallies, numerous protesters were young, including minors, and pictures of the police manhandling teens went viral on social media. Police in the video are seen trying to carry away a person by force.

Demonstrations took place throughout the sprawling country, from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on a Pacific island and in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. He said this was created to prevent him from leading Sunday's protests.

In a nationwide day of polls, members of the ruling United Russia party also won in elections for governors and legislators in other Russian cities. "They will do what they can to get protest voters to stay home".

Authorities in the capital have organised festivals and food fairs at polling booths to drive up participation and lend legitimacy to Putin ally Sobyanin's next term as mayor. Opinion polls put Navalny's support in the single digits, but backers note he won nearly a third of the vote in a 2013 Moscow mayoral race, and believe he could give Putin a run for his money if ever allowed to run against him on a level playing field.

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