Around 2000 people gathered in Khabarovsk (Khabarovsk Krai) on Saturday, August 15, for the sixth anti-Kremlin weekend protest over the arrest of former governor Sergei Furgal and President Vladimir Putin's management of a regional political crisis. Protesters have peacefully marched with posters demanding freedom for Furgal. Solidarity rallies were reported elsewhere in Russia, including in St. Petersburg. Media sources suggest that demonstrators who gathered on Saturday also voiced their support over the protests taking place in Belarus against the disputed presidential vote.
Future protests are likely; a heightened security presence and localized travel disruptions should be anticipated in the vicinity of all demonstrations.
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 Khabarovsk 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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