Several thousand people braved rainy weather to protest in the Russian Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk on August 1 to show their support for the region’s jailed former governor, Sergei Furgal.
It was the fourth consecutive weekend of large demonstrations in the city following Furgal’s arrest on July 9 on suspicion of involvement in several murders in the mid-2000s.
Police estimated the crowd at about 3,500 people. Protesters carried regional flags and chanted “Freedom” as they marched to the offices of the regional government.
The police did not intervene.
There were smaller sympathy protests in other Far Eastern cities, including Komsomolsk-na-Amur, Vladivostok, and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Furgal, a popular governor who was elected by a wide margin in 2018 over the incumbent from the ruling United Russia party, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
He and his supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated, perhaps instigated in part by the region’s weak support in a national plebiscite for a controversial package of constitutional amendments that, among other things, could enable President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036.