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Opposition resumes protests in Chisinau, tens of thousands take to streets

January 21, 16:03 UTC+3
Renato Usatii accused the authorities of blocking information about the protests
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Leader of Moldova's Our Party Renato Usatii

Leader of Moldova's Our Party Renato Usatii

© EPA/DUMITRU DORU

CHISINAU, January 21. /TASS/. Anti-government protests have resumed in central Chisinau on Thursday, with tens of thousands of people blocking traffic on the capital city’s main thoroughfare. A TASS correspondent reports from the scene that the protesters have blocked the parliament building, people continue to arrive.

Their leaders are addressing the audience from the stages built in front of the parliament. Chairman of the Party of Socialists Igor Dodon and leader of Our Party Renato Usatii urged people to come with warm clothes "to stand firm to the end" and topple the government. According to them, minibuses with protesters from the regions are arriving to central Chisinau. The buildings of parliament and government are surrounded by reinforced police cordons. Police are both outside and inside. Currently, the single column of the left and right opposition, which held rallies near government building, has begun a march along Chisinau’s main street.

"The demonstrators brought along the flags of Moldova heeding the appeal to abandon the party banners," Dodon told TASS. According to him, earlier on Thursday US Ambassador to Moldova James Pettit invited him for a talk. "I am going to meet him and put it bluntly that Moldova is not a banana republic and they should not take us for savages," he said. Dodon earlier criticized Washington for supporting corrupt politicians in Moldova for geopolitical reasons.

"We consider the authorities in Moldova to be a military junta. It is illegitimate. We are peaceful protesters but are determined to topple this regime," a leader of the right opposition - the Dignity and Truth (DA) civic platform - Vasily Nastase told reporters. He called on his supporters to block the parliament, which he called "mafia’s nest", together with the left parties.

For his part, Usatii accused the authorities of blocking information about the protests. ""Broadcasts of many TV channels have been stopped, reports on the situation in Moldova are removed from newscasts. On the advice of their curators from the United States, journalists are denied entry to the country by the local special services. On the Americans’ initiative, Ukraine handed over to Chisinau the list of Russian reporters who covered the situation in this country. Now, if they arrive in Chisinau airport, they are deported. This is a flagrant violation of freedom of speech, the Americans’ hobby-horse," Usatii told reporters.

Authorities urging protesters to sit down at negotiating table

Speaker of Moldova’s parliament Andrian candu earlier invited the protesters’ leaders to sit down at the negotiating table, but they have not responded to this offer.

The Moldovan parliament convened urgently on Wednesday to endorse the government. The meeting lasted 30 minutes, the parliament endorsed the government’s composition and program without any discussions, consideration and questions to the ministers. This drew strong criticism from protesters in central Chisinau. They broke through the police cordon and broke into the building. Around midnight, the new government’s oath-taking ceremony was held secretly at the presidential residence.

The protest leaders called on their supporters to gather again on Thursday at 10:00 local time (11:00 Moscow Time) outside the Moldovan parliament building to continue the protests. They demand the resignation of the president and the prime minister and early elections.

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