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Criminal case opened against protesters in Chisinau

April 24, 2016, 22:40 UTC+3 CHISINAU

Police spokesman said that 14 policemen were hurt in clashes with protesters

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CHISINAU, April 24. /TASS/. A criminal case has been opened against participants in Sunday’s clashes with the police in Chisinau, a police spokesman told TASS.

"The police have initiated a criminal case against participants in the riots in Chisinau. Investigation is underway," the spokesman said, adding that 14 policemen were hurt in clashes with protesters. About ten most aggressively behaving protesters were detained.

Under the Moldovan laws, actions that lead to mass riots accompanies with violence, plunders, arsons and damage to properties, as well as armed resistance to law enforcers are punishable by a prison term of from four to eight years.

Earlier, Moldova’s Interior Minister Alexandru Jizdan placed responsibility for clashes during Sunday’s protest rally on its organizers, the leaders of the Dignity and Truth (DA) Civil Platform.

"We warned the organizers ahead of the rally that it must be held peacefully. We are probing into the reported riots to identify those who had provoked clashes with the police. However we know the organizers of the rally - the leaders of the Dignity and Truth Civil Platform. They will have to be liable as responsibility always rests on organizers who must ensure law and order," he told journalists.

Clashes between protesters and the police were reported on Sunday near the house and office of Moldovan oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc dubbed by the opposition as a "grey cardinal" of the ruling coalition of pro-European parties. The protesters tried to break a police cordon and threw bottles, stones and eggs at the police who used batons in response. Injuries were reported on both sides.

Organizers however accuse the police of using tear gas. They say several protesters had to seek medical assistance. They called on the protesters to refrain from provocations. In response, some of the protesters accused them of indecisiveness and called on the rest to break police cordons.

By now, the organizers have managed to gather the protesters back on the central square of the city, where the rally started in the morning. Participants adopted a resolution demanding early parliamentary and presidential elections and resignation of the current corruption-eroded authorities.

Large-scale protests erupted in Moldova in the spring 2015 after the media had reported a theft of about one billion U.S. dollars from three Moldovan banks, which nearly went bankrupt. Those protests involved different spectrum of the Moldovan opposition, such as Our Party and the Party of Socialists which advocate closer relations with Russia and the center-right Dignity and Truth Civil Platform that supports the course towards European integration. The latter accused the current Moldovan authorities of discrediting this idea. Protesters put tent camps in central Chisinau in front of the buildings of the Moldovan government and parliament.

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