10,000 Russians ignore social distancing, stage protest to demand release of Furgal


No less than 10,000 Russians have protested in the eastern city of Khabarovsk to demand the release of a popular regional governor detained last week on suspicion of murder.

The rally which was organized on Saturday July 18, 2020, was in solidarity with the regional governor, Sergei Furgal.

Furgal was accused of organizing the murder of several entrepreneurs 15 years ago, in Khabarovsk, Russia.

Sergei Furgal, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, became the governor of the Khabarovsk region in 2018 after defeating a rival from the ruling United Russia party that backs President Vladimir Putin.

Furgal was taken to Moscow last week, where he is now in pre-trial detention after being charged with involvement in organising the murder of multiple businessmen 15 years ago.

Though he denied the charges, he could face up to life in prison if found guilty of the charges, which also include involvement in attempted murder.

Demonstrators carried posters in support of Furgal. Some of them were demanding his release; others were calling for an open and transparent trial.

Svetlana, one of the protesters said residents were discouraged by the accusations against Furgal.

“Many Russian politicians have a dark past, she said.

“People came out here to defend their voting rights: We elected him, so return him to us,” she said.

The protests come barely three weeks after a landslide referendum victory for the Kremlin on amendments to the constitution, allowing Putin to remain in power for another 16 years.

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