comscore Moldova: 3,000 protest, call for early elections | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Moldova: 3,000 protest, call for early elections


    Riot police officers stand in line in front of protesters, some wanting closer links to Russia, others demanding a crackdown on corruption, outside the parliament in Chisinau, Moldova, Thursday.

CHISINAU, Moldova >> Some 3,000 people protested in the Moldovan capital Friday for a third day running calling for early elections, better governance and demanding an end to widespread corruption.

The demonstrators marched toward the national television station, Moldova 1, accusing it of pro-government-bias. Leaders from two pro-Russian parties led the march and were joined by members of civic group Dignity and Truth, which wants more transparency and public accountability. They later headed to the capital’s main square.

Protesters stormed Parliament Wednesday after lawmakers approved a new pro-European government led by Pavel Filip, the former technology minister.

Protesters are angry about falling living standards in the impoverished country and say pro-European parties, which have been in power since 2009, have failed to carry out reforms. They are also calling for a full inquiry into the disappearance of up to $1.5 billion from three banks prior to parliamentary elections in 2014.

The banks were closed down in 2015 and losses were covered by state reserves.

“I want Moldova to be a free country, that doesn’t depend on oligarchs,” said Alexandru Balaban, 58, a worker. “We’ve had enough of corruption. We want people to have decent salaries and jobs so they don’t have to go abroad to work.”

The average monthly salary in the impoverished nation is just 220 euros ($240). Some 600,000 Moldovans work abroad in the European Union or Russia and send home remittances.

“We can’t live like this anymore with high prices and tiny salaries. They stole the money and we have to deal with the consequences,” said Irina Popov, an office worker who was protesting.

The U.S. Embassy in Chisinau and the EU have repeatedly urged Moldova to carry out an investigation into the missing money.

Former Prime Minister Vlad Filat was arrested in October 2015 and charged with taking bribes worth $260 million from a businessman to help him gain control of one of the banks. He is currently in jail, pending trial.

Money disappeared from the state savings bank, the Social Bank and Unibank at the end of November 2014. All three banks were put under the central bank’s administration in December 2014.

Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this report.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up