Russian police detain hundreds protesting against pension reform, rights group says

Russian police detain hundreds protesting against pension reform, rights group says

The OVD-Info organization that monitors political repression reported that 291 people in all were detained in connection with the protests around the country.

Google's Russian office said it required advertisers to comply with local laws, in comments reported by news agencies.

"If needed, Mr Putin could still step in as the "good tsar" to insist [Prime Minister Dmitry] Medvedev's team reduces the age increases, preserving the essence of the reform but appearing to compromise", the paper says.

Heeding a call from opposition leader Navalny, thousands took to the streets of dozens of cities against the controversial pension reform.

As in previous rallies, numerous protesters were young, including minors, and pictures of the police manhandling teens went viral on social media.

The Russian news portal OVD-Info, which tracks the arrest of protesters, said more than 830 demonstrators were detained on September 9 at protests in 33 towns and cities across Russia.

The government's plan calls for the eligibility age for retirement pensions to be raised by five years, to 65 for men and 60 for women.

More than 1,000 protesters were detained throughout Russian Federation on Sunday during anti-government protests over plans to increase the pension age, an independent monitor said.

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The changes, going through parliament, have shaved around 15 percentage points off President Vladimir Putin's popularity and are the most unpopular government measure since a 2005 move to scrap Soviet-eras benefits, which led to nationwide pensioner protests.

A Reuters witness saw police detain at least one protester in Moscow.

Some of them chanted "Russia will be free" and "Putin is a thief".

Sunday's rallies, which had been called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were held in dozens of towns and cities across Russian Federation.

Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption activist who is President Vladimir Putin's most prominent foe, urged supporters to protest the pension proposal Sunday before he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for organizing an unsanctioned January protest involving a different issue.

The protests took place as people went to the polls on Sunday to select the governors of 22 regions, including the Russian capital.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, incumbent mayor Sergei Sobyanin cruised to a comfortable re-election with 69.54 percent of the vote, while Vadim Kumin from the Communist Party came second with 11.65 percent. In Yakutsk's mayoral contest, Sardana Avksentyeva, of the Party for the Renaissance of Russia, beat Aleksandr Savinov, of the pro-Putin United Russia.

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