On election eve, several thousand join anti-Kremlin rally in Russian Far East

Reuters
Moscow, Russia Published: Sep 12, 2020, 05:06 PM(IST)

Anti-Kremlin rally Photograph:( Reuters )

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Residents of Khabarovsk, which lies about 6,110 km (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, started the rallies after the July 9 arrest of Sergei Furgal on murder charges that he denies.

Several thousand people gathered in Russia`s far eastern city of Khabarovsk on Saturday for what has become a regular weekly protest against the Kremlin since the region`s popular governor was detained in July, a Reuters witness said.

Residents of Khabarovsk, which lies about 6,110 km (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, started the rallies after the July 9 arrest of Sergei Furgal on murder charges that he denies.

Furgal`s supporters, who say his detention is politically motivated, accuse President Vladimir Putin of mishandling the local political crisis.

"Putin is a thief - he stole Furgal from us," some of the protesters chanted as they marched down the city`s main thoroughfare on Saturday, a day before the country holds local elections.

Local authorities, according to TASS news agency, gave a lower estimate of the size of the crowd, saying about 700 people had taken part.

The Khabarovsk protesters also demanded Sunday`s elections are fair. Some held placards reading "Every vote matters" or depicting caricatures of Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Central Election Commission, with the question "Fair elections?"

Sunday`s vote, which is seen by the Kremlin as a dry run for parliamentary elections next September, will elect 18 regional governors and a slew of local parliaments and city councillors. Early voting began on Friday.

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