Mass rallies rocked the Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk back on Saturday, as thousands took to the streets to protest the arrest of this area’s governor on charges of participation in many murders.
Local media estimated that the rally at town ,800 kilometers east of Moscow attracted 15,000 into 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 their favorite governor and a simmering discontent with the Kremlin’s policies.
Furgal, the Khabarovsk area governor, was detained on July 9 and flown to Moscow where he had been put in prison for 2 months. Russia’s Investigative Committee says 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 which range from imports of consumer products to lumber and metals. Khabarovsk citizens ignored the charges against him unsubstantiated and denounced the Kremlin for targeting a governor they elected.
“It is not just about this (if Furgal detain 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.
A part of the nationalist 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.
Individuals voted for him delivering a humiliating blow to the primary Kremlin party, United Russia, which was losing seats in regional administrations within the previous couple of decades.
Throughout his two decades in office, Furgal got a report on”the people’s governor.” He cut his own wages, arranged the purchase of an expensive yacht that the preceding government purchased, fulfilled protesters when rallies happened and substantially reduced flight fares for residents in remote places.
“Furgal turned into a political symbol for the inhabitants of the area, and all religions — regardless of the grave — are 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 from the city center. Protesters demanded that Furgal’s trial have been transferred to Khabarovsk, with a few of them stating”we’ve chosen himand it is up to us to judge him.” Some questioned the time of this arrest, pointing to Furgal’s decade-long stint as a lawmaker from the Russian parliament before running for governor, during the murder fees never arrived.
The protests, unauthorised by police, would be the biggest ever to have happened in Khabarovsk, a city of 590,000. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the situation”not regular” this past week. Moscow hasn’t yet appointed an acting governor 11 days following Furgal’s arrest.
Massive audiences on Saturday accumulated despite local officials’ efforts to dissuade individuals from taking to roads, mentioning the coronavirus outbreak and an prevented terrorist threat.
Authorities did not interfere with the rally. Protesters held banners saying”Freedom to Sergei Furgal, governor of the Khabarovsk area” and cried”I, you, he and she — that the whole nation is for Furgal”.
Smaller rallies in support of Furgal also happened Saturday in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, another major city in the Khabarovsk area, and at the city of Vladivostok from the neighbouring Primorye area.
“Though I am nearly 70, I stress sincerely about my area, roughly Russia and our state, roughly Furgal and liberty. I would like us to be liberated,” Alla Sokolova, a protestor at Khabarovsk, told the AP.