Penza, 9 September 2018. PenzaNews. The march against the pension reform that was organized by supporters of opposition activist Alexei Navalny and was not endorsed by the city authorities was held in Penza peacefully without arrests.
After 13.00 Penza residents – mostly under the age of 30 – started gathering near the shopping centre Vysshaya Liga as they had done during the campaign on May 5. However, contrary to that day, there was no police van accumulation nearby.
The activists had no flags or posters.
At about 14.00 a group of young people moved down the pedestrian part of Moskovskaya street holding black balloon. On seeing this, others joined them.
The participants of the protest campaign skirted the fenced football area near Fontannaya square, which was installed at the weekend in the framework of the presentation of creative and sports clubs.
The column failed to cross the controlled pedestrian crossing in Maxim Gorky street without interrupting the march. However, the young people did not interfere with transport and waited for the enabling signal of the traffic lights.
Until the shopping centre Imperia located near the building of the Penza region government the activists were accompanied by the police and went in complete silence. Opposite the shop the column slowed down and the protesters began to clap.
Then they moved on chanting slogans: "Crooks and thieves, you have five minutes to pack", "Russia will be free" and others.
Many people – both participants of the march and passers-by – filmed the event on their mobile phone cameras.
When the column reached the A.V. Lunacharsky Drama theatre, it stopped.
Anton Strunin, who was the head of the Penza headquarters of Alexei Navalny until its closure in March 2018, thanked representatives of the Pena City Hall and the police for restraint and understanding.
According to him, the event proved that the participants of the protest were not aggressive, they did not plan to destroy the drama theatre and to turn over the Merry Train, which stood still near the shopping centre Gorodok during the campaign.
Anton Strunin reminded of the fact that the conduct of rallies was prohibited at that area and suggested moving to the Dzerzhinsky public garden to share one's thoughts on the topic of the pension reform.
His words were followed by prolonged applause. Then, almost all the people went to the public garden. However, they went not in a column but in several groups.