Hundreds of people in the Far Eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk have taken to the streets for the 64th consecutive day to protest the arrest in July of the region’s popular former governor.
Protest organizers estimated the crowd on September 12 at about 2,000 people, while the city administration said about 700 people participated.
Former Khabarovsk Krai Governor Sergei Furgal was arrested on July 9 and taken to Moscow. He faces charges in connection with several killings that happened in the mid-2000s.
Many of the protesters in Khabarovsk on September 12 held up posters reading "Furgal – Our Choice," "Freedom for Furgal," and "I/We are Sergei Furgal."
Demonstrators marched down a main thoroughfare in the city, blocking traffic. No arrests were reported.
Furgal, of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, was elected in 2018 in a runoff that he won handily against the region’s longtime United Russia incumbent.
Supporters believe the charges against him were fabricated in a bid to reestablish United Russia’s control over the region.
The protests highlight growing discontent in the Far East over what demonstrators see as Moscow-dominated policies that often neglect their views and interests.
President Vladimir Putin's popularity has been declining as the Kremlin tries to deal with an economy suffering from the coronavirus pandemic and years of ongoing international sanctions.