On Sunday, September 9, during the Single Voting Day, rallies against increasing the retirement age have been held across Russia. According to the organizers, the team of the Russian opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, the rallies took place in 83 cities. Authorities in some cities, Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, didn’t approve the rallies. It is reported that 2000 people gathered on the sidewalk in front of Finlyandsky railway Station in Saint-Petersburg.
Immediately aftre the beginning of the rally in Saint-Petersburg, the police started to detain the participants, in particular those holding posters against Russian President Vladimir Putin. 400 to 500 people, including minors were detained during the protests, Fontanka news outlet reports, citing the law enforcement officials. Traffic on the Liteyny Bridge to the center of the city was closed, the website Bumaga reports.
According to the website, detainees were taken away by four buses from the Pirogovskaya Quay.
In Moscow, the police began to come to the Pushkinskaya Square a few hours before the protests started. About 4 thousand protesters gathered at the Pushkinskaya Square. Moscow police, in turn, reported about two thousand participants. Among those detained in Moscow was Dmitry Nizovtsev who ran live broadcasts for Navalny.LIVE Channel.
According to the human rights portal OVD-Info, by 16.30 pm Moscow time, 291 people were detained in 19 cities, including 58 people in Yekaterinburg, 43 in Omsk, 28 in Krasnodar. The former Mayor of Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman was also detained. However, the deputy editor of Znak.com news website, Dmitry Kozelev denied this fact stating that Roizman got into the police van voluntarily together with other detainees and was taken to the police department.
Coordinators of Navalny headquarters were detained in a number of cities, among which are Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Ufa, Krasnoyarsk and Magnitogorsk.
The very first rally was held in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Protests were also held in Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Ulan-Ude, Biysk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Krasnoyarsk, Novokuznetsk, Ufa, Tyumen, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kaluga, Kaliningrad. Their participants were chanting verses about the pension reform, and such as “Putin resign!”, “Putin robs people!”, “We are against the power of cheaters and robbers!".
In Novosibirsk, according the organizers, several thousand people took part in the march that started in the Pervomaisk Square. Special Police Forces wearing helmets and carrying rubber batons blocked the road for protesters.
The news website Taiga.info reported that “people were beaten with batons”. The correspondent of Taiga.info was also beaten by police. About one hour later, the website reported that the protest ended, ten people were detained. The coordinator of Navalny headquarters in Novosibirsk, Sergey Boyko was detained when he was talking via video link with anchors of the YouTube-Channel Navalny.LIVE before the protest began. Boyko states that the rally was approved by the authorities. Detentions were also recorder in Omsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo.
In Yakutsk, about 75 people were taken to police, they were soon released.
Police started to detain supporters of Navalny in many cities few days before protests began. In Stavropol and Krasnodar, coordinators of Navalny’s headquarters were detained for 5-10 days. Two more activists were also arrested. In Chelyabinsk, police officers came to the house of the activist of the Open Russia movement and took him to the Prosecutor’s office.
Alexei Navalny himself was detained on August 27 and sentenced by the Administrative Court to 30 days in prison. Because of that, he was not able to take part in the march in Moscow.
On September 9, elections of governors, mayors and deputies of different levels are held as part of the Single Voting day throughout Russia.