Hundreds arrested as Russians protest pension reform

Hundreds arrested as Russians protest pension reform

Hundreds arrested as Russians protest pension reform

Navalny reportedly said his arrest was an attempt to derail Sunday's planned protests. The city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals saw the highest number of arrests - 58 in total, the group said.

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.

United Russia also failed to win a majority in regional parliaments in the Khakasia and Irkutsk regions, where it finished behind the Communists.

The original plan would have increased the retirement age for men from the current 60 to 65, and from 55 to 63 for women. 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.

Almost half of those detained were rounded up in St. Petersburg, according to the OVD-Info.

Protests have begun in Vladivostok and other cities in Russia's Far East.

"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. Photos on social media indicated a lot of them were attended by 100 or more protesters, but the crowd in St. Petersburg appeared to exceed 1,000.

Officers arrested dozens more as protests kicked off in eastern Russian Federation and Siberia. He added that "hooligans and provocateurs" mixed up with protesters and assailed police.

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Demonstrations took place throughout the sprawling country, from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on a Pacific island and in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. Navalny said the move was created to derail the protests. In St. Petersburg, the crowd appeared to exceed 1,000.

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.

Another protester, Katya Shomnikova, 23, said: "They (the authorities) stole my future life, we will have to correct what's been done".

Sobyanin's supporters say he has transformed Moscow with billion-dollar renovation projects that include a showpiece central park and new pedestrian areas along with a string of new metro stations.

Sergei Sobyanin, the Kremlin-backed incumbent mayor who has run the capital since 2010, was expected to receive about 70 percent of the vote in the Moscow mayoral election.

But two hours before the polls closed, just 28 percent of voters had turned up, according to the election commission.

Four Kremlin-backed candidates were forced into run-off votes.

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