Public gathering against retirement age increase held in Penza
Penza, 28 July 2018. PenzaNews. According to organizers, over 2,500 people participated in a people's gathering held in Dzerzhinsky public garden in Penza on the initiative of the Communist Party in the framework of the nationwide protest against the retirement age increase.
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The participants occupied not only the central area but also adjacent paths up to the building of the palace of culture. Many tried to hide from the scorching summer sun in the shade of trees.
In the hands the protesters were holding flags of the Communist Party, the Komsomol, the Left Front, the officially unregistered United Communist Party, A Just Russia, and the Homeless Regiment representing interests of defrauded construction investors.
One could see banners with the following inscriptions: "Penza is against retirement age increase", "We demand increase in pension but not in retirement age", "We will get our pension only in the coffin", "Pay taxes and die peacefully", "I want to be a granny and not a workhorse", and others.
Clients of the firm Invest-Garant that had attracted savings of the population under loan agreements and some time ago ceased payments put forward individual demands. For example, one of the posters was addressed to the officials: "Power! Help the deceived investors of Invest-Garant".
In the place of gathering everyone could get a special issue of the newspaper Pravda dedicated to the pension reform and to put a signature under a petition against the increase of the retirement age.
To begin with, first secretary of the city committee of the Communist Party Yuliana Kotova gave a speech urging residents to express their protest more actively.
"The government will observe whether people continue to resist or not. If we limit the protest movement to one-time rallies, trust me, they will adopt the bill in the second and third readings," she noted.
The opinion was supported by other speakers.
When Left Front coordinator in the Penza region Victor Khomets, who had previously spent a day in jail for placing a banner with the inscription "United Russia, damn you for retirement age increase!" at the fence of an overpass, took the floor those present expressed him their support chanting "Well done!".
One of the proposals applied to the recall of State Duma members representing the Penza region Ivan Firyulin and Sergei Yesyakov, who belong to the United Russia faction, due to their support of the government reform as well as to the demand to dissolve the Legislative Assembly of the region that had also supported retirement age increase by the majority of votes. It was voiced by member of A Just Russia Igor Alekseev.
As deputy chief editor of the newspaper Ulitsa Moskovskaya Evgeny Malyshev, who performs the functions of the Homeless Regiment press secretary, noted in his speech that the wave of active protests had begun in the Penza region last autumn when defrauded construction investors organized first rallies and were joined by Invest-Garant investors and those dissatisfied with the pension reform.
At the same time, according to him, the regional government tried not to notice the growing discontent of citizens.
At the end of the public gathering leader of Penza communists, deputy of the regional Legislative Assembly, presidium member of the Central Committee of CPRF Georgy Kamnev also expressed his disagreement with the initiative of raising the retirement age.
According to him, Russia numbers about 150 dollar billionaires, who achieve their goals, whereas uncoordinated citizens are yet unable to act as a unified force.
In addition, Georgy Kamnev drew attention to the fact that the voices of the residents supporting the opposition in the elections of different levels are often divided between candidates.
"Next year there will be elections to the Penza City Duma. [...] The Communist Party is creating an opposition bloc to have not different candidates but rather one normal person representing people," the leader of Penza communists explained.
In his opinion, the same tactics should continue to be followed at other elections.
Then the resolution of the public gathering, which will be sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin and chairman of the government Dmitry Medvedev, was read loudly.
In particular it contained the requirements to cease the initiated pension reform, stop the rise in petrol prices and the increase of VAT, introduce a progressive taxation as well as several others.
Senior regional officials and United Russia representatives ignored the public gathering. According to PenzaNews data, activists had sent official invitations to governor Ivan Belozertsev and chairman of the regional Legislative Assembly, secretary of the party in power Valery Lidin to participate in the discussion on the suitability of the resonance bill adoption.
No journalists of Penza TV channels were seen at the rally.