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'Putin, have some tea': Russian city holds eighth anti-Kremlin protest

'Putin, have some tea': Russian city holds eighth anti-Kremlin protest

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony, which awards constructors of the Crimean Bridge over the Kerch Strait, in Sevastopol, Crimea Mar 18, 2020. (Alexander Nemenov/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

KHABAROVSK, Russia: Thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday (Aug 29) in Russia's far eastern city of Khabarovsk to protest against President Vladimir Putin's handling of a regional political crisis and the suspected poisoning of his most vocal critic.

"Putin, have some tea," protesters chanted as they marched on the city's main thoroughfare, in a reference to the case of opposition politician Alexei Navalny who fell gravely ill this month after drinking a cup of tea at an airport cafe.

Navalny, 44, was airlifted to Germany last week after collapsing during a flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk. He is now in a medically-induced coma in a Berlin hospital.

READ: Navalny ally says only Putin could have authorised suspected poisoning

READ: Navalny's poisoning in Russia spurs supporters to fight on

Residents of Khabarovsk, about 6,110km east of Moscow, started holding weekly rallies after the Jul 9 detention of Sergei Furgal, the region's popular governor, over murder charges he denies.

His supporters say the detention is politically motivated. At the rally, they brandished posters denouncing "repression" and "dictatorship" and demanded that Furgal be released and allowed to return to the city.

READ: Tens of thousands in fresh anti-Kremlin rally 

Some also expressed solidarity with opponents of Belarusian leader and long-time Putin ally Alexander Lukashenko who have been staging public protests for weeks over vote-rigging accusations in the Aug 9 presidential election.

Source: Reuters/kv

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