Tens of thousands of people in the Far Eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk marched in an unsanctioned rally on July 18 to protest the arrest of a local governor.
Videos of the event showed a massive crowd filing down a main thoroughfare in the regional capital and gathering in its main square to demand the release of Khabarovsk Krai Governor Sergei Furgal.
An estimated 15,000 to 50,000 demonstrators took part in the nearly five-hour rally, according to reports, although police gave no official crowd estimate. City authorities reported no arrests or violence.
The rally ended in front of the city’s Mayor’s Office, where demonstrators protested comments made by Mayor Sergei Kravchuk, who earlier suggested that Furgal’s supporters were being paid.
The continuing protests, far from the Russian capital, are a rare public show of defiance against the Kremlin and come following a controversial nationwide vote that set the stage for President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036.
Among the signs seen during the July 18 rally were ones reading “Free Furgal” and “Moscow. Go away from our river, our minerals, our resources.”Rallies also took place on July 18 in the Khabarovsk Krai city of Komsomolk-On-Amur and in the port city of Vladivostok in the neighboring Primorsk region.
On July 17, a Russian official announced that President Putin would soon appoint an acting governor of Khabarovsk Krai.