Russia: Tens of thousands of people had protested against Furgal’s arrest
Thousands of Russians in Khabarovsk province are protesting again against the arrest of provincial governor Sergei Furgal. They consider his arrest to be a politically motivated move by the Kremlin. But that’s not the only reason for anger.
Mass protests against the arrest of provincial governor Sergei Furgal have taken place in the eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk. Tens of thousands of demonstrators again marched through the capital of the province of the same name in the Far East of Russia. They held up the Khabarovsk flag and protest posters and called chants against President Vladimir Putin. “Freedom” and “Putin, resign” chanted the demonstrators in front of the provincial administration.
Furgal was arrested on July 9, taken to Moscow, and detained. He is accused of commissioning several murders of businesspeople 15 years ago. The 50-year-old provincial governor, who is a member of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s ultra-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), rejects the allegations.
The governor’s supporters see Furgal’s arrest as politically motivated and as an attempt by the Kremlin to silence an opponent of the ruling party, United Russia. According to Deutsche Welle, Khabarovsk is also suspected of revenge from Moscow for the results of the constitutional reform vote. More than a third of voters in Khabarovsk (37 percent) voted against Putin’s project; significantly more than the national average (21 percent). Over the past two weekends, tens of thousands of people had protested against Furgal’s arrest in Khabarovsk.
Demo despite Corona ban
Public gatherings are currently banned in Russia because of the coronavirus pandemic. The rally in Khabarovsk was not resolved by the police. Officials spoke of 6,500 participants; while the opposition’s online channels spoke of around 90,000 demonstrators.
Furgal had won almost 70 percent of the vote in the Khabarovsk region in the 2018 governor elections and defeated the candidate of the ruling party United Russia. Putin officially deposed him on Monday and appointed LDPR MP Mikhail Degtyariev as interim governor. However; many people from Khabarovsk reject 39-year-old because he is not from the region and has little experience.
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