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April 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election protests

2009 Moldova civil unrest
Protests in Chişinău after the April 2009 elections
Location Chișinău, Cahul, Orhei, Bălți
13 cities in Romania, including Bucharest
Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City
London
Date April 6–April 12, 2009
Deaths 4[1][2][3][4]
Non-fatal injuries
270[5]
Perpetrators Anti-communist demonstrators,[6] including supporters of pro-Romanian opposition parties, Romanian students and pro-EU activists [7]
Number of participants
Protesters: around 50,000[8]
Riot in front of the Moldovan Parliament, 7 April 2009

The 2009 civil unrest in Moldova began on April 7, 2009, in major cities of Moldova (including Bălţi and the capital, Chişinău) before the results of the 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election were announced. The demonstrators claimed that the elections, which saw the governing Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM) win a majority of seats, were fraudulent, and alternatively demanded a recount, a new election, or resignation of the government. Similar demonstrations took place in other major Moldovan cities, including the country's second largest, Bălţi, where over 7,000 people protested.

The protesters organized themselves using an online social network service, Twitter, hence its moniker used by the media, the Twitter Revolution[9][10] or the Grape Revolution. In Chişinău, where the number of protesters rose above 30,000, the demonstration escalated into a riot on April 7. Rioters attacked the parliament building and presidential office, breaking windows, setting furniture on fire and stealing property.

Contents

  • Background 1
  • Demonstration and riot 2
  • Arrests and accusations of torture 3
  • Deaths 4
  • Government reaction 5
  • Diplomatic row with Romania 6
  • International reaction 7
  • Follow-up 8
  • See also 9
  • Legacy 10
  • References 11

Background

The unrest began as a public protest after the announcement of preliminary election results on April 6, 2009, which showed the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova victorious, winning approximately 50% of the votes. Final results, published on April 8, showed that the PCRM garnered 49.48% of the vote, gaining 60 parliament seats – one less than the three-fifths required for the party to control the presidential election. The opposition rejected the election results, accusing the authorities of falsification in the course of counting the votes and demanded new elections. [11][12][13]

The PCRM has been in power since 2001. A series of protests have been organized by opposition parties in 2003, when the government attempted to replace the school subject "History of the Romanians" with "History of Moldova". Students protested for months before the government backed down on its plans.[14]

Petru Negură, a university professor of sociology at the Moldova State University and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, France, attributed the origins of the crisis to the ethnic identity problem: some people in Moldova identify themselves as "Moldovans", while others as "Romanians".[14]

The

  1. ^ a b (Romanian) "Familia unui tânăr moldovean susţine că acesta a murit după ce a fost bătut de poliţie", Mediafax, April 12, 2009
  2. ^ (Romanian) "Cadavrul lui Ion Ţâbuleac, mort în ziua de 7 aprilie, a fost aruncat în curtea Spitalului de Urgenţă", Jurnal de Chişinău, April 14, 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  3. ^ Ziarul de Gardă » Încă un tânăr decedat: Soroca e în doliu
  4. ^ UNIMEDIA » COMUNIŞTII RECUNOSC: Valeriu Boboc a murit în urma unor lovituri dure
  5. ^ (Romanian) [1]
  6. ^ "Police retake Moldova parliament", BBC online, April 8, 2009
  7. ^ a b (Romanian) "Steagul României, arborat pe sediul Preşedinţiei moldovene", Cotidianul, April 7, 2009
  8. ^ (Romanian) Ole, ole, Basarabie!, Ziua no. 4507/8 April 2009, accessed April 9, 2009
  9. ^ "Twitter Revolution: Fearing Uprising, Russia Backs Moldova's Communists", Spiegel, April 10, 2009
  10. ^ "Moldova's "Twitter Revolution"", RFE/RL, April 8, 2009
  11. ^ "30 000 de protestatari au spart uşile Parlamentului şi ale Preşedinţiei", UNIMEDIA, April 7
  12. ^ (Romanian) "Tinerii zgâlţâie comunismul la Chişinău", Evenimentul Zilei, April 8, 2009
  13. ^ "Eyewitness: Moldova protests", BBC, April 8
  14. ^ a b «Le problème identitaire au coeur de la crise en Moldavie», Le Figaro, April 15, 2009
  15. ^ "Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions", International Election Observation Mission, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, 6 April 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
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  17. ^ (Romanian) "Cum votează morţii în Republica Moldova", cotidianul.ro, 8 April 2009
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  25. ^ Noam Cohen, "Moldovans Turn to Twitter to Organize Protests", The Lede, a New York Times blog, April 7, 2009
  26. ^ "Protests in Moldova: Moldova burning", The Economist, April 8, 2009
  27. ^ "Moldovans try to burn parliament in protest at 'rigged' poll", The Scotsman, April 8, 2009
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  30. ^ "Anti-Communist Protests in Moldova", The New York Times, April 7, 2009
  31. ^ "Imagini privind arborarea Tricolorului", UNIMEDIA, November 16, 2009
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  33. ^ (Romanian) "La Spitalul de urgenţă din Chişinău s-au adresat 78 de răniţi", Noutati Moldova, April 8, 2009
  34. ^ (Romanian) "Revolta de la Chişinău. Ziua III", EVZ.ro, 8 April 2009
  35. ^ Barry, Ellen (April 7, 2009). "Protests in Moldova Explode, With Help of Twitter".  
  36. ^ (Russian) "Пострадавшая при пожаре в Кишиневе девушка выжила", Interfax, April 7, 2009
  37. ^ (Romanian) "La Chişinău a fost organizat un Comitet al Salvării Naţionale", Realitatea, April 8, 2009
  38. ^ a b c Caolson, Robert, "Chişinău Unrest Exposes Moldova's Fault Lines", Radio Free Europe, 9 April 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  39. ^ Protest in Cimișlia on April 7, 2009 on YouTube
  40. ^ "Moldovan Capital’s Mayor Speaks Against Communism", New York Times, April 12, 2009
  41. ^ "Protesters Beaten In Moldova", Radio Free Europe, April 9, 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  42. ^ "Andrei Ivantoc was a victim of police", Moldova Azi, April 17, 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  43. ^ Moldova: Civil society activists at risk of arrest
  44. ^ "Memorandum: Amnesty International's concerns relating to policing during and after the events of 7 April 2009 in Chişinău", at Amnesty International
  45. ^ "Moldova asks Ukraine to extradite businessman Stati", Kyiv Post, April 9, 2009
  46. ^ "PO extraditing Moldovans involved in Chişinău mass unrest", Ukrainian Radio. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  47. ^ (Romanian) "Jurnaliştii Antena 3, urmăriţi în Republica Moldova, s-au întors în ţară", Antena 3, 9 April 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  48. ^ (Romanian) "Ziarişti reţinuţi la Chişinău pentru că sunt români şi lucrează în presă", Antena 3, 8 April 2009
  49. ^ (Romanian) "Flash: A fost răpită redactorul-şef de la JURNAL de Chişinău", Jurnal Internet Television. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  50. ^ (Romanian) TVR - TVR Correspondent in Republic of Moldova, Doru Dendiu, Detained by the Militia. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  51. ^ (Romanian) Antena 3 - Chişinău: Journalist kidnapped and Freed After Two Hours. TVR Correspondent hooked-up by the Police
  52. ^ "Moldovan president calls for vote recount", Associated Press
  53. ^ Information in English. "Financiarul » Blog Archive » TVR journalist in Chişinău released". Financiarul.ro. Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  54. ^ a b (Romanian) "Cadavrul lui Ion Ţâbuleac, mort în ziua de 7 aprilie, a fost aruncat în curtea Spitalului de Urgenţă", April 17, 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  55. ^ "Protests in Moldova and Georgia: Street scenes", The Economist, April 16, 2009
  56. ^ "blocarea Internetului în perioada 7-9 aprilie", UNIMEDIA, May 7, 2010
  57. ^ (Romanian) "295 de persoane, reţinute la Chişinău", Mediafax, April 11, 2009
  58. ^ (Romanian) "Apelul primarului general al municipiului Chişinău, Dorin Chirtoacă", Chişinău City Hall, April 13, 2009
  59. ^ "Moldova detainees abused, says UN official", Financial Times, April 14, 2009
  60. ^ (Romanian) "Comisar ONU: "Deţinuţii moldoveni sunt bătuţi cu sticle de apă şi bâte de către poliţişti"", Cotidianul,April 14, 2009
  61. ^ "Moldovan President Calls For Amnesty For Protesters". Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  62. ^ a b Thomas Escritt, "Moldova brutality admitted", Financial Times, April 17, 2009
  63. ^ RFE/RL: "Moldovan Police Arrest Policeman In Postelection Killing ", 9 April 2010
  64. ^ (Romanian) "Dovada crimelor miliţiei lui Voronin", EVZ.ro, 13 April 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  65. ^ Imedia.md: Daily summary: Tuesday, November 9, 9 November 2010
  66. ^ "Poliţia a declarat familiei că Eugen s-a spânzurat cu şireturile de la încălţări", Ziarul de Gardă, April 16, 2009
  67. ^ "A treia victima din 7 aprilie: Cadavrul lui Eugen Tapu este in stare de descompunere", dejure.md, April 17, 2009. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  68. ^ True Moldova
  69. ^ Calcul poliţienesc: un sinucigaş — doi sinucigaşi
  70. ^ BBC, 20 April 2009, Moldova police face brutality allegations
  71. ^ MEMORY OF APRIL EVENT VICTIMS VENERATED IN MOLDOVA AND ROMANIA
  72. ^ (Romanian) Delirul lui Voronin: "Demonstrantii sunt fascisti; ne vom apara impotriva pogromului", Ziua, April 8, 2009
  73. ^ "Moldovan Leader Calls Violence a Coup Attempt".  
  74. ^ (Romanian) "Voronin: România se află în spatele revoltei de la Chişinău ", EVZ.ro, 8 April 2009
  75. ^ "Moldovan leader accuses opposition of betrayal". RIA Novosti. 2009-04-08. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  76. ^ "El ingreso de Rumania en la UE ha complicado las cosas en Moldavia", El Pais, April 13, 2009
  77. ^ Apr 9, 2009 (2009-04-09). "AFP: Moldova president orders vote recount". Google.com. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  78. ^ "Moldova Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 April 2009. 
  79. ^ "Moldovan poll recount to take place on Wednesday | World | Reuters". Uk.reuters.com. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  80. ^ "Moldovan opposition to boycott poll recount". Reuters. 2009-02-09. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  81. ^ "Moldova Tension Rises as Recount Divides President, Opposition". Bloomberg.com. 2005-05-30. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  82. ^ "Vote recount in Moldova to be over on Thursday morning", ITAR-TASS, April 16, 2009
  83. ^ a b "'"Moldova recount 'confirms result. BBC News. April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  84. ^ "Kyiv Post. Independence. Community. Trust. » Homepage » World » Transdniestrian leader rules out talks with current Chişinău authorities". Kyivpost.com. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  85. ^ a b c d (Romanian) "Voronin: România a declanşat revolta de la Chişinău", Evenimentul Zilei, April 8, 2009
  86. ^ "Romania names new ambassador to neighbouring Moldova", Southeast European Times, April 9, 2009
  87. ^ "Dispute between Romania and Moldova worsens", AP, April 24, 2009
  88. ^ (Romanian) "Două curse internaţionale feroviare între România şi Republica Moldova au fost anulate", Realitatea, April 8, 2009
  89. ^ "Europe | Romania slams Moldova's sanctions". BBC News. 2009-04-09. Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  90. ^ "Unimedia, July 22, 2009". 
  91. ^ "Boc promite că termenul maxim de acordare a cetăţeniei va fi de cinci luni", Gândul, April 15, 2009
  92. ^ "Czech EU presidency concerned about developments in Moldova", Prague Daily Monitor, April 9
  93. ^ John, Mark (April 7, 2009). "EU's Solana urges calm in Moldova".  
  94. ^ Violence against democracy
  95. ^ ERR 13 April 2009: Mikko: Moldovas tuleks korraldada uued valimised. Accessed 2009-07-22. Archived 2009-07-31.
  96. ^ Moldova welcome at EU summit despite crackdown. euobserver.com. Retrieved August 08, 2013
  97. ^ "Moldova: MEPs condemn grave violations of human rights following parliamentary elections". Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  98. ^ "Romanian foreign ministry backs EU stand on Republic of Moldova". Financiarul. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  99. ^ "Românii, solidari cu Moldova", Evenimentul Zilei, April 8, 2009
  100. ^ "Mitingurile pro-Moldova continuă". EVZ.ro. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  101. ^ "Băsescu: Voronin este cel care poate încerca să ridice o cortină de fier pe Prut", Cotidianul, April 13, 2009
  102. ^ "Moscova acuza Bucurestiul ca destabilizeaza Moldova", România Liberă, April 8, 2009
  103. ^ "Russia says Moldova riots undermine sovereignty". Reuters. 2009-04-08. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  104. ^ Kyiv Post. Independence. Community. Trust - Ukraine - Interior Minister: Ukraine ups patrols along Moldova-Ukraine border
  105. ^ "Two Moldovans Detained In Ukraine For ‘Coup Attempt’ - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty © 2009". Rferl.org. 2009-04-09. Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  106. ^ "GPO extraditing Moldovans involved in Chişinău mass unrest / News / NRCU". Nrcu.gov.ua. Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  107. ^ "Daily Press Briefing - April 8". State.gov. 2009-04-08. Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 
  108. ^ "Interview with Asif Chaudhry, the US-embassador in Chişinău". Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  109. ^ "Hilary Clinton replies to Vladimir Voronin". Archived from the original on 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  110. ^ "Students Protest in Square: Disputed Moldovan elections lead to peaceful Harvard Square protests".  
  111. ^ The New York Times, A Polarized Moldova Votes, Mindful of West and Russia, July 29, 2009
  112. ^ Moldova restores Declaration of Independence
  113. ^ Text of Moldova's Declaration of Independence recovered
  114. ^ Stela Popa. 100 DE ZILE lansate şi la Chişinău
  115. ^ Interviu cu Stela Popa, autoarea romanului "100 de zile"
  116. ^ Aşa va arăta Monumentul Libertăţii!
  117. ^ Guvernul Moldovei a hotărît să instaleze Monumentul Libertăţii
  118. ^ Gavroche in Chişinău
  119. ^ Timpul de dimineaţă, „Aceasta e prima mea revoluţie. Furaţi-mi-o”, în ediţie trilingvă
  120. ^ Romanian Senate adopted creating the Valeriu Boboc prize

References

  • The book of Stela Popa "100 de zile" (Tritonic, Bucharest, 2010, 464 pages) is dedicated to the events of April 7.[114][115]
  • The Monument of Liberty is a planned monument to be dedicated to the victims of 2009 Moldova civil unrest.[116][117]
  • The book of Maria-Paula Erizanu, "Aceasta e prima mea revoluţie. Furaţi-mi-o C'est ma première revolution. Volez-la à moi This is my first revolution. Steal it" (Cartier, Chișinău, 2010, 140 pp) is dedicated to the events of April 7.[118][119]
  • Publika TV was launched on April 7, 2010, to recall the civil unrest.
  • A “Romanian Senate, in April, on the topic "Defending the fundamental human rights and democratic values".[120] As of 2014 no prize has been awarded.

Legacy

See also

The original Moldovan Declaration of Independence approved and signed on 27 August 1991 was burned during the civil unrest, but an identical document was restored in 2010.[112][113]

After the civil unrest, the climate in Moldova became very polarized.[111] The parliament failed to elect a new president. For this reason, the parliament was dissolved and snap elections were held. The July 29 polls were won by the Communist Party with 44.7% of the vote. That gave the former ruling party 48 MPs, and the remaining 53 seats in the 101-member chamber went to four opposition parties. Opposition parties agreed to create the Alliance for European Integration that pushed the Communist party into opposition. The Communists were in government since 2001.

Follow-up

  • [103]
  • [105] They were extradited a week later.[106]
  • United States State Department spokesman Robert Wood said "we’re calling on the parties to refrain from further violence and resolve their differences peacefully and through peaceful means." In regard to the way the election was handled, Wood declared that the State Department is "still assessing" and that, at the moment of the briefing, "he thinks [...] we basically share that assessment that the OSCE gave."[107] Asif Chaudhry, the US ambassador, stated that "the authorities acted with restraint on Tuesday, as the demonstration in front of the Presidential Palace and the Parliament building went out of control resulting in property damage and injuries. Thus, the potential for more grave consequences was avoided." He also expressed concerns about the arrests that took place after the riot.[108] United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton wrote to president Vladimir Voronin: "As our Embassy and the Department of State noted in public statements, we condemn the violence which occurred in the days following the election. We believe it would be helpful for your Government to address the concerns that have been raised about the conduct of the election, as well as the treatment of detainees, journalists, and representatives of civil society following the violence" [109] Students and activists hoisted picket signs in Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York City on April 13, to protest the incumbent Communist Party’s victory.[110]
  • [94] Marianne Mikko, member of the European Parliament and leader of its Moldova delegation, has called for new elections, emphasising the importance of full enfranchisement among people of Moldova.[95] The European Parliament announced that Moldova would participate in the Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on May 7, which will see the EU upgrade relations with Moldova.[96] But European Parliament "strongly condemned the massive campaign of harassment, grave violations of human rights and all other illegal actions carried out by the Moldovan Government in the aftermath of the parliamentary elections."[97]
  • Romania also backed the European Union assessment of concern and urged a cessation of violence.[98] Several thousand Bucharesters gathered in the University Square to show support for the Moldovan protesters. Hundreds of people also mobilized in the major Romanian cities of Iaşi, Timişoara, Cluj-Napoca, Braşov, Galaţi, Craiova, Ploieşti, Arad, Suceava and Bacău, as well as in Petroşani.[99][100] President Traian Băsescu said that Moldova is trying to build an "Iron Curtain" across the Prut and that Romania will act responsibly toward the "four million Romanians that live in Moldova".[101]

International reaction

The Romanian government changed the regulations which allow foreigners who had ancestors who had Romanian citizenship (including most Moldovans) to gain the Romanian citizenship. The new law allows people with at least a Romanian great-grandparent (instead of just a grandparent as before) to request Romanian citizenship, while it added a maximum term of five months for giving a response to the request.[91]

On a press conference from July 22, 2009, Moldova's state prosecutor, Valeriu Gurbulea, declared that Romania was not involved in the riot.[90]

The Moldovan government instituted visa requirements for Romanian citizens and closed the border between Romania and Moldova on April 7. Moldovan students studying in Romania and international journalists were not allowed to enter the country. The following day, train connections between Romania and Moldova were cancelled for undefined period, because of "technical" issues.[88] Romania announced that it will not reciprocate on the expelling of the ambassador and it will keep the same visa regime, with visas free-of-charge for Moldovan citizens.[85] It also condemned as "arbitrary and discriminatory" the new measures brought against Romanian nationals in Moldova and has stated that the visa scheme was "reckless" and broke a Moldova-EU pact.[89]

The Romanian ambassador in Moldova, Filip Teodorescu was declared persona non grata by the Moldovan government, being required to leave the country within 24 hours.[85] The following day, the Romanian parliament nominated a senior diplomat, Mihnea Constantinescu, as the new ambassador to Moldova,[86] but two weeks later, the Moldovan government rejected him without any explanation, deepening the crisis.[87]

The civil unrest in Moldova led to a diplomatic row with Romania, after President Voronin accused Romania of being the force behind the riots in Chişinău.[85] Romania denied all charges of being involved in the protests.[85]

Diplomatic row with Romania

Transnistrian president Igor Smirnov accused the Moldovan government of failing to "protect Transdniestrians from nationalists." [84]

On 10 April 2009, Voronin called on the Constitutional Court of Moldova to authorise a recount of the votes.[29][77] On 12 April 2009, it decided that there would be a recount.[78] The recount was then set to take place on 15 April 2009.[79] On 14 April, Serafim Urechean announced that the three main opposition parties would boycott the recount, citing fears that the government would use it to increase its majority to the 61 seats required to elect the next president.[80][81] The recount is scheduled to finish by 16 April 2009 and results will be submitted by 21 April 2009 to the CEC.[82] The result of the election was not changed through the recount, as no serious errors were determined.[83] The opposition maintain that the ballot was rigged, saying that recounting fraudulent ballots could only yield fraudulent results.[83]

Later on April 8, Voronin made the following statement: "For the first time, the Moldovan people saw the opposition openly betray their own people and their own country by taking the path of provoking open civil war. The whole country saw that there is no opposition whatsoever in Moldova — neither anti-Communist, nor anti-Voronin. There is only opposition to the state." The President also commented on the displaying of Romanian flags: "What happened yesterday brought indelible shame on our politicians, on the whole of our democracy. The entire Moldovan nation witnessed the greatest humiliation of its own sovereignty and its own democracy when the state standards were ripped from the flagpoles of Parliament and the President's Office and replaced with the flags of Romania."[75] In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, Voronin claimed the professors and teachers, especially in Chişinău, have a very destructive role as "continuators of Ion Antonescu".[76]

Following the escalation of the riots and the burning of the parliament building, Voronin said "we tried to avoid bloodshed, but if yesterday's situation will be repeated, we will respond accordingly".[74]

Moldovan President [72] The President also urged the West to help restore order and resolve the conflict.[73]

Government reaction

On October 8, 2009 hundreds of people came to Stephen the Great Monument in Chişinău to mark 6 months from the bloody events. While attending the ceremony, the prime minister Vlad Filat said that the Ministry of the Interior has already started a domestic investigation into the police’s actions on April 7, 2009 and especially during subsequent days and weeks.[71]

The Moldovan government strongly denied any involvement in the deaths. The executive director of Amnesty International Moldova, Evghenii Golosceapov, does not believe the minister's denials.[70] Three of the dead showed signs of violence on their faces and bodies. The causes of their deaths remain unknown as of 2010.

Maxim Canişev (born 1989, Hristoforovca) died on 8 April, but was found with his spinal column broken in Ghidighici Lake only on 18 April.[69]

The body of a third protester, Eugen Ţapu, was handed to the relatives by the police on April 16. The official cause of death was given as suicide by hanging, however, the relatives disputed this because they claim that he had no marks on the neck to suggest this.[66][67] According to Victor Său, the mayor of Ţapu's home village Soroca, there is a link between Eugen Ţapu's death and the protest from April 7 because the police refuse to provide further explanations and the dates of his death and the protest’s day are the same.[68] Său stated that police refused to provide any explanations on the reasons behind the death of Eugen Tapu, and that according to the papers he died on 7 April, the day when police begin the mass arrests of young protesters. The police say they found the decomposing body of Eugen Ţapu on 15 April, hanging from his bootlaces in the attic of a building in the capital. "They killed him, that's for sure, and they must answer for what they've done" said Eugen's father.

The body of another protester, Ion Ţâbuleac, with multiple wounds and fractures, was allegedly dumped from a car belonging to the Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs.[54]

Following his arrest, a 23-year old protester, Valeriu Boboc, died in a Chişinău hospital on 8 April 2009.[63] The official cause was smoke poisoning from the riot, but his family insisted that he was beaten to death by the police, his body being full of contusions.[1][64] An investigation was opened into the case and a policeman was arrested on charges of Boboc's murder. As of November 2010, the case is still ongoing.[65]

Four deaths occurred at the time of the unrest and have been linked to the events by various sources.

Deaths

Marian Lupu, the speaker of Moldova's parliament, admitted that the arrested protesters were subjected brutality from the police and he announced that the police officers involved would not be punished, being covered by the amnesty announced by President Voronin.[62]

On April 15, President Voronin called for a general amnesty and "an end to all forms of prosecution against participants in street protests",[61] however, Chirtoacă announced that no protesters have been freed by April 17.[62]

A United Nations report, based on a visit to one detention center, said that the hundreds of people arrested following the civil unrest were subject to "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment, being beaten with clubs, water bottles, fists and feet, were denied food and access to legal counsel, and brought before judges in batches of six and collectively charged. The UN representatives were denied access to other detention centers, despite legislation which allows them to conduct such visits.[59] Edwin Berry, the UN human rights adviser for Moldova said that during the visit to the detention center almost everyone he talked to had visible marks that show that they have been beaten.[60]

On April 13, Chişinău mayor Dorin Chirtoacă made an appeal to international organizations regarding the arrests in Moldova, claiming that the protesters had been tortured, not given the right to talk to a lawyer and that NGOs were not allowed access to the detention centres. He also claimed that the real number of arrestees was higher than the official figures, as the list compiled by the press of missing protesters reached 800 names.[58]

On April 11, the Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs announced it arrested 295 people in Chişinău for their involvement in the protests.[57]

[56] Also, the internet access in Chisinau was blocked in reason to limit citizens' access to news sites.[55], was put under house arrest.Natalia Morar Another journalist, [54] Dediu being told that he must leave Moldova.[53][52] However, Mahu and Dendiu were released from police questioning later that day,[51][50] Romanian journalists from

On April 9, the Moldovan Prosecutor General's Office asked [38] On April 16, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine approved the extradition of Stati and Marinescu.[46]

[44]

On the night following April 7, around 1 AM, police forces routed the remaining crowds in the main square and arrested about 200 participants. On the following day, more arrests were issued, with demonstrators beaten and transported away in police cars. Similarly, footage showed demonstrators getting dragged away and beaten by what appears to be plain-clothes police officers.[41] Among the protesters to be hospitalized after being beaten was Andrei Ivanţoc, formerly a political prisoner in Transnistria.[42] An independent MP, Valentina Cuşnir, was near the main street of Chişinău at about midnight on 7 April. She reported that she was abused by a police officer.[43]

Arrests and accusations of torture

The protests continued on Sunday, April 12 when around 3,000 protesters gathered in the central square where the mayor of Chişinău, Dorin Chirtoacă, held a speech about how Moldova's youth reject Communism because they "understand that their future has been stolen". However, the students were notably absent from the crowd, having been sanctioned for their participation in the previous protests.[40]

Protests of solidarity with demonstrators in Chișinău took place in Cimișlia, Bălți, Ungheni and other Moldovan cities.[39] Conversely, in some cities (especially in the autonomous region of Gagauzia) the actions of the protesters were condemned.

On April 7, Serafim Urechean, leader of the opposition Party Alliance Our Moldova, during a meeting with President Voronin said that the riots were orchestrated by security services.[38] However, former Moldovan President Petru Lucinski believes the violence was the spontaneous result of the actions of leaderless youths frustrated with the waning of Moldovan democracy. He said that there is no need to look further to explain the unrest and the movement "didn't have any leaders, one part went in one direction, a peaceful one and another part took a violent turn."[38]

However, the protests died off as the police intervened during the night to arrest the protesters found in the square. [37] On the evening of April 7, a group of protesters organised a National Salvation Committee, consisting of student and civic representatives. Writer

The emergency hospital of Chişinău reported treating over 78 injured police officers and protesters on April 8,[33] while the Moldovan president stated that 270 people were injured in the riots.[34] Moldovan opposition called on the authorities to carry out new elections and on the demonstrators to cease violence. Moldovan national television had initially reported that a young woman died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fires within the parliament building set off by the rioters.[35] However, it was later reported that the woman was saved by a team of medics.[36]

Two teenagers, Ion Galaţchi and Dragoş Musteţea, with the alleged approval of the policemen, replaced the Flags of Moldova at the Presidential and Parliament buildings with a Flag of Romania and a Flag of Europe, claiming that they expected that this would calm the crowd. [7][31][32]

The protesters, some of which carried Romanian flags,[29] chanted pro-Western, pro-Romanian and anti-government slogans such as "We want Europe", "We are Romanians"[29] and "Down with Communism".[30]

The first demonstrations, organized as a flashmob by a 25-year-old Moldovan journalist Natalia Morar,[24] began in Chişinău on April 6, 2009, with a larger number of demonstrators arriving on the next day, April 7. The demonstration, numbering over ten thousand, most of them students and young people, gathered in the city center on Ştefan cel Mare boulevard.[25][26] The protest against the announced election results turned into clashes with the police, who used tear gas and water cannons. However, the police were soon overwhelmed by the number of the protesters.[27] Rioters broke into the nearby parliament building and the office of president. Entering the building through broken windows, demonstrators set parts of the building on fire, using documents and furniture both inside and outside. The building was retaken by the police later in the evening.[28]

Protesters stealing pieces of furniture from the Parliament building
Protesters issuing the EU flag on the top of the Parliament of Moldova; policemen alongside. 7 April 2009
A cordon of gendarmes and policemen in front of the Moldovan Parliament
Mass street protests in Chișinău
External video
Protests in Moldova on YouTube
Protests in Chișinău, Moldova (April 7, 2009) on YouTube
Revolution in Chișinău, Moldova on YouTube
Tensions in Moldova on YouTube

Demonstration and riot

Opposition parties pointed out that the lists of eligible voters included 300,000 more people compared to the previous elections, although the population of Moldova has been shrinking.[21] Due to this, they claimed that around 400,000 fictive voters have been created in the last two months and, therefore, changed the voting result.[22] It was also claimed that the authorities have also printed more than one voting bulletin for certain persons.[23]

According to Vladimir Socor, a political analyst for the Jamestown Foundation, the elections were evaluated as positive on the whole, with some reservations not affecting the outcome or the overall initial assessment.[20] Exit polls had showed a comfortable win for the Communist Party, with the only uncertainty being the size of the winning margin.[20]

A number of voters have also reported cases of fraud where deceased and nonattendant persons were registered as having voted.[17][18][19]

[16] disagreed with the assessment of the OSCE report on the fairness of the elections.Emma Nicholson A member of the OSCE observation team, [15]

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