Russian police detain nearly 300 protesting against pension reform

Dozens of opposition supporters were arrested ahead of the rallies

Dozens of opposition supporters were arrested ahead of the rallies

Protesters gathered in cities across the country on Sunday to rally against a government proposal to raise the country's retirement age, CNN reported.

Earlier in Germany during large-scale protests detained 300 people. In Moscow police beat members of a crowd of about 5,000 with truncheons in Pushkin Square, according to video published by the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The announcement three months ago led to a drop in the president's popularity ratings by 15 points, to its lowest point since Russia's occupation of Crimea...

Police arrested more than 150 people who were taking part in nationwide demonstrations called by jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, independent monitor OVD-info said.

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

The series of YouTube videos featured Navalny inviting Russians to join demonstrations on Sunday, when polls suggest President Vladimir Putin's former chief-of-staff Sergei Sobyanin will be comfortably re-elected as the capital's mayor.

The rallies were announced last month by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, who is now serving a 30-day jail sentence for what authorities call violations of the law on public gatherings related to street rallies in January.

The group said there had been detentions in 19 Russian cities, with most occurring in St Petersburg.

Later Putin modified the proposal so women would retire at age 60.

"The authorities are not listening to people and that means it's time to take to the streets", Navalny's team said in a pre-protest statement. Navalny said the move was created to derail the protests which took place in 80 towns and cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg.

Pension reforms have caused widespread public anger, and Mr Navalny's supporters have planned rallies in more than 80 cities to capitalise on this.

"These elections are a defeat for the authorities", said Valery Solovei, a political analyst at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.

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

But Putin and government officials say the age hike is necessary because rising life expectancy in Russian Federation could exhaust pension resources if the eligibility age remains the same.

There will also be run-offs for the governors of Khakasia, Primorsky Krai, Vladimir Oblast and Khabarovsk Krai, where United Russia candidates will compete with candidates from the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, a nationalist group.

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