Rights Group Says More Than 1,000 People Were Detained in Russia Protests

The Moscow mayoral election is the highest-profile vote but serious opposition candidates have been kept off the ballot paper in favour of incumbent Sergei Sobyanin

The videos showed Mr Navalny calling for Russians to take part in protests on 9 September against raising the retirement age.

Earlier in Germany during large-scale protests detained 300 people.

The election-day protests against the pension-reform plan that were organized by Navalny triggered harsh crackdowns by riot police in several cities and led to criminal charges against some of the more than 1,000 protesters detained nationwide. Police arrested minors and elderly people.

OVD-Info, a rights organisation that monitors detentions, said 839 people had been detained by police on Sunday in 33 cities, including some of Navalny's closest aides. The ruling party also lost seats in some regional parliaments to members of the Communist Party and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russian Federation, the news agencies reported, citing election officials.

The issue has galvanized citizens and initially hurt the popularity of President Vladimir Putin, who in August sought to quell the discontent by suggesting amendments to dilute the proposal.

"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.

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The proposed pension changes, which are now going through parliament, have shaved around 15 percentage points off Putin's popularity rating and are the most unpopular government measure since a 2005 move to scrap Soviet-era benefits. A lawyer for Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund was arrested in Moscow before the rally there.

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

The demonstrations stemmed from Mr Putin's decision to increase state pension ages from 60 to 65 for men and from 55 to 63 for women. The president responded by offering some concessions, but argued that the age hike is necessary because rising life expectancy in Russian Federation could exhaust pension resources if the eligibility age remains the same.

Sobyanin, mayor of the Russian capital since 2010, received 70.02 percent of the vote, the city electoral commission reported on Monday. 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.

This time he will face only low-profile candidates from the Communist Party, the nationalist LDPR and two other groups, with more vocal opponents barred under new rules.

"For 18 years, Putin and his government have stolen from the budget and squandered it on meaningless projects".

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