About 8,000 people demonstrated in the eastern Russian city of Jabarosk this Saturday to demand the release of former governor Sergei Furgal and to bring the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, and his supporters to justice.
“Putin must go to court,” said one of the demonstrators’ banners. Other participants in the march loudly denounced that Putin had “stolen” their governor from them. Protesters have been protesting for nine straight weekends against the arrest of former governor Sergei Furgal, who is expected to remain in custody until at least December.
Investigators accuse the former governor of computerizing two murders as a businessman 15 years ago. However, protesters claim the allegations are false and that he was fired for not being part of the United Russia party, the formation that President Putin supports.
Furgal’s founding, the Liberal Democratic Party, is believed to be loyal to the Kremlin, but prevailed in the elections against United Russia two years ago. Most of the protesters are demanding less interference in local politics from the Kremlin.
The estimate of 8,000 protesters is based on data collected at the march site. Local authorities have given assurances that fewer than a thousand people are involved in the protest. At their height, the protests drew 85,000 people, making them the largest mobilization in the region for decades.