New protests held against arrest of popular Russian governor

People hold posters that read: “I am, We are Sergei Furgal, Sergei Furgal our Governor”, during an unsanctioned protest in support of Sergei Furgal, the governor of the Khabarovsk region, in Khabarovsk, 6100 kilometers (3800 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. Thousands of demonstrators have again gathered in the major Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk to denounce the arrest of the region’s governor a month ago. Sergei Furgal was arrested on suspicion of involvement in murders and taken to jail in Moscow. The estimated 3,000 demonstrators in Khabarovsk protested the charges and want him returned to the city for trial. (AP Photo/Igor Volkov)

MOSCOW (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators gathered again Saturday in the major Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk to denounce the arrest of the region’s governor a month ago.

Sergei Furgal was arrested on July 9 on suspicion of involvement in murders and taken to jail in Moscow. The estimated 3,000 demonstrators protested the charges and want him returned to the city for trial. Furgal has denied the charges.

The protests have posed a challenge to authorities in Moscow.

Furgal, who has been removed from his post, is a popular figure in the region bordering China about 6,100 kilometers (3,800 miles) east of Moscow. Since his arrest, daily demonstrations have been held in the city, with attendance peaking on weekends.

Demonstrations in support of the Khabarovsk protesters were held in at least seven other cities in Russia. The OVD-Info organization that monitors political arrests said at least 10 people were arrested in those demonstrations.

No arrests were reported in Khabarovsk, where authorities have not interfered with the demonstrations, apparently hoping they will fizzle out.

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