Thousands of people gathered to demonstrate in Khabarovsk, Russia’s Far East, on Saturday against the arrest of a Russian regional governor accused of murder. Tens of thousands of people had already demonstrated last Saturday.
A new demonstration against the arrest of a Russian regional governor, accused of murder, gathered thousands of people on Saturday, July 18, in Khabarovsk, where the protest movement did not weaken in this city in the Far East for a week.
Sergei Fourgal, governor of the Khabarovsk region and a member of the LDPR nationalist party, was arrested on July 9 on charges of murder more than 15 years ago, which he denies.
His supporters see the deal as an attempt to neutralize an opponent of the ruling United Russia party. Sergei Fourgal’s arrest sparked massive protests in Khabarovsk, a city of 600,000 people located 6,100 km east of the Russian capital.
If in Moscow several opposition movements have previously gathered large crowds – often oppressed by the police – large-scale protest demonstrations remain rare in the Russian regions.
In Khabarovsk, several thousand people, including young people, the elderly and women with children in prams, paraded in the city center on Saturday, holding up signs saying “Freedom for Fourgal!” noted an AFP correspondent.
According to a press release from Khabarovsk City Hall, they were “up to 10,000” on the streets in the center. According to the local news site Dvhab.ru, between 15,000 and 30,000 people participated in the parade when the temperature exceeded 30 degrees.
The protesters demanded a “fair trial” for their governor in Khabarovsk and not in Moscow, where Sergei Fourgal was taken after his arrest for detention.
Protestants gathered tens of thousands of people in Khabarovsk on Saturday, according to supporters of Sergei Fourgal.
Former doctor, businessman and member of the nationalist party LDPR in the Russian parliament, Sergei Fourgal, 50, was elected to everyone’s surprise in 2018 as governor of the Khabarovsk region with almost 70% of the vote, closing the candidate from the United Russia.
After his high-profile arrest, his party threatened to leave parliament and resign other governors elected under his label.
According to the investigators’ version, Sergei Fourgal organized the murder of several businessmen in 2004 and 2005 and was condemned by “employees of the time”.