People across Russian Federation rally against raising pension age

Hundreds were arrested in protests against the Russian government's pension plan Sunday

Hundreds were arrested in protests against the Russian government's pension plan Sunday

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a rally in protest against court decision to block the Telegram messenger because it violated Russian regulations, in Moscow, Russia, April 30, 2018.

Russia's independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported country-wide clashes between the protesters and the police, with hundreds detained.

In cities such as Dzerzhinsk, where life expectancy is rising but is still low, people are anxious they will not live to retire, Sky News previously reported.

The pension reform plans led to outbursts of public anger in the country.

Approval ratings for Putin, Medvedev, and the ruling United Russia party have fallen noticeably since the proposed pension-age hike was passed in its first reading in the lower house of parliament in July.

The proposed pension overhaul, which is now before parliament, has sparked a rare outburst of public anger that has seen President Vladimir Putin's approval ratings plummet.

Turnout stood at 30.8 percent.

A government plan to increase the age for collecting state pensions brought protests across Russia's 11 time zones Sunday even though the opposition leader who called them was in jail. The organizers of the demonstrations claimed that between 60 and 80 thousand people took to the streets in 80 separate protests from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.

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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.

OVD-Info, a rights organisation that monitors detentions, said 153 Navalny supporters had been detained by police on Sunday in 19 towns and cities, including some of Navalny's closest aides.

Demonstrations against plans to raise the retirement age in Russian Federation - from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 60 for women - were held on 9 September.

The scale of the electoral setbacks for United Russia is "a unique situation", said Dmitry Orlov, a political analyst who's a member of the party's supreme council. "We also require advertisers to act in accordance with the local law and our advertising policies".

The protests coincide with elections for 26 heads of Russia's 85 regions, including in Moscow, which are being held on Sunday.

Although the numbers were not big, the authorities broke up rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg using the OMON riot police.

But critics argue these are a sop to a new urban middle class which has in the past protested against Putin's rule, as the Kremlin continues to crack down on political freedoms.

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