Russian far East: new demonstration against the arrest of a governor

Extrême-Orient russe: nouvelle manifestation contre l'arrestation d'un gouverneur

Khabarovsk | A new protest against the arrest of a regional governor in Russian, accused of murder, was held Saturday, thousands of people in Khabarovsk, in the Far East, after several days of protests.

Sergei Fourgal, governor of the Khabarovsk region, was arrested July 9 on charges of murder dating back more than 15 years, that he rejects.

His arrest triggered large protests in Khabarovsk, a city of 600 000 inhabitants located at 6100 km east of Moscow.

On Saturday, several thousands of people, including youth, elderly or women with children in strollers, marched in the centre of Khabarovsk, in holding placards “Freedom to Fourgal!” according to a correspondent of the AFP.

In total, between 15 000 and 30 000 people have participated in this fashion show, organized so that temperatures have exceeded 30 degrees Celsius, according to the website of local information Dvhab.ru.

Several cars passing next to the parade honked in support of demonstrators who were chanting “as long as we are united, we are invincible”.

The protesters have demanded that a “fair trial” be held to their governor in Khabarovsk and not in Moscow, where Mr. Fourgal was taken after his arrest to be placed in provisional detention.

“This is our governor! And we will defend ourselves!”, they chanted. “I am sure that nobody will be better than him for the region”, has launched a retired.

“We will not stop protesting until Fourgal is back,” warned another participant in the parade.

As the rallies preceding this event has not received the endorsement of the authorities, but it has not been dispersed by the police, on the premises, without interfering.

Last Saturday, the protest movement has brought together tens of thousands of people in Khabarovsk, according to the supporters of Sergei Fourgal who saw in his arrest an attempt to neutralize an opponent of the ruling party, United Russia.

A former physician, businessman, and member of the nationalist LDPR in the Russian Parliament, Sergei Fourgal, 50 years old, was elected to the general surprise, 2018 governor of the Khabarovsk region, with nearly 70% of the vote, ousting the candidate of United Russia.

After his arrest, highly publicized, his party, LDPR, has threatened to quit Parliament and resign, other governors elected under its label.

This party maintains, however, president Vladimir Putin on most issues, including the recent constitutional revisions that enabled him to strengthen his power.

Depending on the version of the investigators, Mr. Fourgal organized in 2004 and 2005, the assassination of several business men and was denounced by “accomplices” of the time. The powerful investigative Committee of the Russian assured Thursday they have “overwhelming evidence” of the involvement of the governor.

The protests magnitude are rare in the Russian regions. In Moscow, many opposition movements have brought together large crowds in the past, the gatherings often repressed by the police.

Last weekend, Moscow had sent an emissary in the hopes of calming the situation in Khabarovsk.

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