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Russians in Far East region protest arrest of regional governor

Russians in Far East region protest arrest of regional governor
Russian policemen escort arrest governor of Khabarovsk territory Sergei Furgal to Basmanny district court in Moscow, Russia Friday. Sergei Furgal was arrested Thursday on charges connected to several contract killings of businessmen, his business partners in 2004-2005. On Saturday tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated across Khabarovsk in opposition to the arrest, which critics say was politically motivated. Photo by Maxim Shipenkov/EPA-EFE

July 11 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of people protested in the Far East region of Russia Saturday, calling for the resignation of President Vladimir Putin and demanding the release of a regional governor arrested recently on murder charges.

The protests in Khabarovsk, a city bordering China, and numerous other towns were the largest in the area in many years.

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Some demonstrations were comparable in size to those last summer in Moscow, where most street protests opposing Putin's regime have taken place.

On Thursday Sergei I. Furgai, the governor of Khabarovsk Krai, a sprawling region that spans the Chinese frontier to the Arctic along the Pacific region, was arrested near his home in Khabarovsk city on suspicion of involvement in multiple murders in the early 2000s.

Furgal took office in 2018 after defeating a Kremlin-endorsed candidate, and critics said the arrest, which comes less than two weeks after a referendum that gave Putin the ability to serve beyond his term limits, is an attempt to suppress opposition to Putin.

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