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Massive protests against Russia after the arrest of ‘people’s governor’ Sergei Furgal

Mass rallies rocked the Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk again on Saturday, as thousands took to the streets to protest the arrest of this area’s governor on rates of participation in many murders.

Local media estimated that the rally at town 3,800 miles east of Moscow attracted 15,000 to 50,000 individuals. Countless people have protested at the city center daily that week against the arrest of Sergei Furgal, representing widespread anger within the arrest of this favorite governor and a simmering discontent with the Kremlin’s policies.

Furgal, the Khabarovsk region governor, was detained on July 9 and flown to Moscow where he had been put in prison for 2 months. Russia’s Investigative Committee claims that he’s suspected of involvement in many murders of businessmen in 2004 and 2005.

Furgal has denied the charges, which relate to his period as a businessman with interests that range from imports of consumer products to metals and timber.

“It is not just about this (if Furgal detains is lawful or not). People are fed up with how we’re treated, they (police ) can take away our decision,” Mikhail Yerashchenko, among the protesters, told The Associated Press on Saturday.

An associate of the Liberal Democratic Party, Furgal was chosen governor in 2018, beating the Kremlin-backed incumbent. His success came sudden: Furgal did not knowingly campaign and toed the Kremlin’s lineup, openly supporting his rival.

People voted for him delivering a humiliating blow to the primary Kremlin party, United Russia, who was losing seats in regional administrations within a previous couple of decades.

Throughout his two decades in office, Furgal got a report on”the people’s governor.” He cut his wages, arranged the purchase of an expensive yacht that the preceding administration purchased, fulfilled protesters when rallies occurred, and substantially decreased flight fares for citizens in remote places.

“Furgal turned into a political symbol for the inhabitants of the area, and all religions — regardless of how grave — would be out of the other, non-political dimension,” political analyst Abbas Gallyamov stated in a Facebook post before this week.

Last Saturday, audiences of allegedly around 35,000 people rallied in the town center. Protesters demanded that Furgal’s trial has been transferred to Khabarovsk, with a few of them stating”we’ve chosen him and it is up to us to judge him.” Some questioned the time of this arrest, pointing into Furgal’s decade-long stint as a lawmaker from the Russian parliament before running for governor, where the murder fees never came up.

Even the protests, unauthorized by police, are the biggest ever to have happened in Khabarovsk, a city of 590,000. Moscow hasn’t yet made an acting governor 11 days following Furgal’s arrest.

Enormous crowds on Saturday accumulated despite local officials’ efforts to discourage individuals from taking to roads, mentioning the coronavirus outbreak and a prevented terrorist threat.

Police did not interfere with the rally.

Smaller rallies in support of Furgal also happened Saturday at Komsomolsk-on-Amur, another major city in the Khabarovsk area, and the city of Vladivostok from the neighboring Primorye area.

“Although I am nearly 70, I stress sincerely about my area, roughly Russia and our state, about Furgal and liberty. I need us to be liberated,” Alla Sokolova, a protestor at Khabarovsk, told the AP.