Google pulls Russian opposition leader's YouTube advert ahead of vote


A rights group says almost 300 protesters, including some close allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were detained by Russian police.

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

Moscow police authorities reported that one person was detained for attacking a police officer and that a criminal case has been opened against that individual, local media reported.

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

St. Petersburg saw arguably the most robust response with riot police charging at protesters with batons.

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. A total of 452 people were detained there, while in Moscow, 43 people were held after authorities had denied an application to hold a rally, the group said.

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. He added that "hooligans and provocateurs" mixed up with protesters and assailed police.

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Local media reported that several people were shot and transported to hospital, and the scene was secured at 9:15 am Eastern time. Workers quickly fled the building and hid in bathrooms and closets when they heard a hail of gunfire and smelled gun power.

In several Moscow polling stations there were scuffles between observers and police volunteers, OVD-info reported.

"For the first time in history, the company has satisfied the illegal demands of Russian authorities and has taken down from YouTube the paid ads promoting the rally against pensions reform", said Leonid Volkov, a close partner of the opposition leader, on the social media.

In the Moscow mayoral election, incumbent Mayor Sergei Sobyanin won with 70 percent of the votes.

Communists beat candidates of the ruling party in elections to the regional parliaments of Khakasia, Irkutsk and Ulyanovsk regions. "I want to say this to older people: The young have to take the hit for us and come out because we don't".

Putin's trust rating in public opinion polls dropped notably after the proposal was put forward and last month offered some concessions, including dropping the age for women from 63 to 60. Last month he offered some concessions, but he 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.