Russian city holds 2nd day of protest over governor arrest

MOSCOW (AP) — Demonstrators in the Russian Far East city of Khabarovsk held a second day of protests against the arrest of the region’s governor on suspicion of involvement in several murders.

The Sunday demonstration in the city, 6,100 kilometers (3,800 miles) east of Moscow, was smaller than a massive gathering on Saturday that was estimated at up to 35,000 people; the local office of opposition leader Alexei Navalny estimated Sunday’s turnout at about 2,000.

Sergei Furgal, the Khabarovsk region governor, was arrested Thursday and flown to Moscow, where he was interrogated and ordered held in jail for two months. Russia’s main criminal investigation body says he is suspected of involvement in several murders of businessmen in 2004 and 2005, before his political career began.

Furgal, a member of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, was elected governor in 2018 and is widely popular in the region. His unexpected victory in the gubernatorial election reflected growing public frustration with President Vladimir Putin’s policies and marked a painful setback for the main Kremlin party, United Russia.