A solidarity rally on Saturday, July 18, was held in Novosibirsk by social activists in support of the recent arrest of Khabarovsk Krai governor, Sergei Furgal. The rally began at Lenin Square and proceeded towards City Hall. The event was largely peaceful with no reports of violence or arrests. In Khabarovsk, an estimated 50,000 strong crowd protested in support of Furgal, the largest rally recorded amid recent unrest in multiple cities throughout the country. The march in Khabarovsk ended in front of the city's Mayor's Office, with no violence or arrests reported.
Further protests are likely in the near term, and associated disruptions are to be expected.
Sergei Fugal was arrested on July 9 under suspicion of involvement in the murders of three businessmen between 2004 and 2005. Opposition groups have questioned why Furgal has been arrested 15 years after the crimes he is accused of and claimed that Furgal's detention is linked to a crackdown on the opposition following the recent vote on constitution reforms that enable President Vladimir Putin to seek two further terms in office.
Those in the Khabarovsk, and Russia more generally, are advised to avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of arrest, refrain from discussing political subjects in public or on social media, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, and anticipate localized disruption near any protest sites.
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