Tens of thousands of people rallied on Saturday in the Russian far eastern city of Khabarovsk in new protests in support of a popular governor and in a rare show of defiance against the Kremlin.
Sergei Furgal was arrested last week on charges of ordering the killings of businessmen 15 years ago.
His arrest has sparked unprecedented demonstrations in Khabarovsk, a city of around 600,000 people near the border with China, and smaller towns nearby.
The 50-year-old governor has denied the charges, which his supporters say are politically motivated.
Furgal, of the nationalist LDPR party, won the governor’s seat from a representative of the ruling United Russia party in 2018.
On Saturday, tens of thousands, including young people, the elderly and women with children in pushchairs marched through the center of Khabarovsk in temperatures of over 30C, an AFP correspondent said.
They carried placards reading “Freedom for Furgal!” and chanted “As long as we are united we are invincible,” as passing cars honked horns in support.
The protesters called for a “fair trial” for the governor, and not in Moscow, where he is being held since his arrest.
“It’s our governor! And we will defend him!,” they shouted.
As with previous protests, the rally was not approved by the authorities, but police made no moves to disperse it.
Last Saturday, tens of thousands also poured onto the streets of Khabarovsk to protest Furgal’s arrest.
The protests mark a rare show of defiance in the remote regions against the Kremlin, and come after President Vladimir Putin this month oversaw a deeply controversial constitutional vote that allows him to extend his hold on power until 2036.
Russia says prepared to mediate peace talks between Armenia, AzerbaijanRussia said on Friday it is prepared to mediate peace talks between ex-Soviet rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan after fighting escalated along their ... World News
Chinese, Russian FMs slam 'US unilateralism' in phone callThe foreign ministers of China and Russia held a telephone conversation on Friday, in which they opposed "US unilateralism," China's state news agency ... World News
Biden says intelligence briefings point to election meddling by Russia, ChinaPresumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Friday he is now getting intelligence briefings, and has been told Russia continues to ... World News
UK, US, Canada accuse Russia of hacking coronavirus vaccine trialsBritain, the United States, and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of trying to steal information from researchers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.The three ... Coronavirus
Amid outcry, Russia charges former journalist Ivan Safronov with treasonRussia charged former military journalist Ivan Safronov with state treason on Monday, his lawyer said, accusations that have sent a chill through ... Print
Large protests in Russian city after governor arrested for allegedly ordering murdersTens of thousands of protesters marched through the eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk on Saturday in support of a popular local governor arrested ... World News