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Moldova’s pro-government rally canceled amid fears of riots

January 24, 2016, 13:17 UTC+3

The demonstration was scheduled to take place simultaneously with the opposition’s protests against the new cabinet in downtown Moldova's capital Chisinau

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CHISINAU, January 24. /TASS/. A rally to support the government of Pavel Filip in Moldova on Sunday has been canceled, the GARLEM public group that organized the event has said.

The demonstration was scheduled to take place simultaneously with the opposition’s protests against the new cabinet in downtown Moldova's capital Chisinau.

"We do not want street clashes. That’s why we have chosen to cancel the rally in support of stability in order not to give a chance to provocateurs to stage riots during our peaceful event," the organization said in a statement.

The protest leaders have welcomed the decision. "We have received information that the rally, organized by the Democratic Party, has been canceled," the leader of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, said.

"My opinion is that this is a right step. We do not need clashes. We can liberate the country from oligarchs only by peaceful protests and without provocations," he said.

The joint protest of the left-wing and right-wing opposition - the socialists, the Our Party and the Dignity and Truth (DA) Civil Platform - will be held in downtown Chisinau on Sunday.

The opposition says Moldova is "a country seized by oligarchs" and refuses to recognize the new cabinet of ministers, calling for the dissolution of parliament and early parliamentary elections.

"We will elect a National Salvation Committee that will offer a program of solving the country’s deepest political and economic crisis where it has been pushed by the current authorities," Dodon told TASS.

Moldova’s Interior Minister Alexandru Jizdan told reporters all the units of the law enforcement agency have been put on alert to ensure public order. "We will do everything possible so that the protests are held peacefully and without violence," the minister said.

He warned that "the protest organizers bear personal responsibility for maintaining order and preventing violent actions."

Mass protests have been held in Chisinau since Wednesday, when the opposition picketed the parliament building where the new government was endorsed. It took six minutes for the parliamentary majority formed around the Democratic Party of Moldova to approve the cabinet of Pavel Flip. The candidate for prime minister was given no time to present the program of his future cabinet. This hasty appointment triggered riots, with protesters trying to storm the building. More than 30 people were injured in clashes with police.

On Thursday, the protest leaders met with the parliament speaker, Andrian Candu, to hand over their demands of government resignation and parliament dissolution. The speaker promised to give an official answer by Friday afternoon.

On Friday, Teleradio Moldova gave air time to the leaders of anti-government protests after thousands of protesters demanding the freedom of the press had blocked the building of the television company.

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