Russians protest against pension age hike

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

Russians protest against pension age hike

Protesters gathered in cities across the country on Sunday to rally against a government proposal to raise the country's retirement age, CNN reported. They are the most unpopular government measure since a 2005 move to scrap Soviet-era benefits, which led to nationwide pensioner protests.

Five people were arrested in Saint Petersburg, two in Moscow, 44 in the Siberian city of Omsk and dozens more in rallies elsewhere, OVD-info said mid-afternoon. He said this was created to prevent him from leading Sunday's protests.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's ally has been overwhelmingly re-elected Moscow's mayor, officials said Monday, following a poll overshadowed by pension protests and mass arrests.

Putin previously served as the leader of United Russia and ran on the party's ticket in the 2012 presidential election.

About 2,500 people ignored police warnings to disperse and stood on Pushkin Square, a stone's throw from the Kremlin, shouting: "Putin is a thief", and "We are the power here!"

The interior ministry was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying police had made around 100 detentions in St Petersburg and "several" in Moscow. Almost 300 people were reported arrested.

Russia's ruling party showed the worst results since 2006 during regional elections on September 10 as its popularity plummeted as a result of an increase in the retirement age and an economic downturn. "I want to say this to older people: The young have to take the hit for us and come out because we don't".

Ahead of the vote a Moscow court jailed Navalny for 30 days, just a couple weeks before he planned to stage a rally against a deeply controversial pension reform on election day.

From 2019, the retirement age for men will be increased from 60 to 65 and from 55 to 60 for women.

The World Health Organization says in 2016, the life expectancy of a Russian man was 66.

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

In 2013, Sobyanin barely escaped a second-round run-off after a strong challenge from Putin's top critic Alexei Navalny, who unexpectedly picked up over a quarter of the ballots. Their compliance with the request also came after Russian Federation warned the company last week that "meddling" in the Sunday elections could result in court action, according to AFP.

Four candidates from Russia's ruling United Russia party have failed to secure first-round victories in gubernatorial elections over the weekend and will now face their respective challengers in a runoff.

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