Friday 15 December 2017

Thousands gather in Moldova to demand early elections

People hold flags during a large protest in Chisinau, Moldova (AP)
People hold flags during a large protest in Chisinau, Moldova (AP)

More than 15,000 people have gathered in the Moldovan capital Sunday to protest against the government and demand early elections in the impoverished East European nation.

Protesters shouted "We want the country back!" and "Unity, citizens!" in Romanian and Russian as the temperature fell to -10 Celsius (14 F).The rally in Chisinau was organised by two pro-Russian parties and the civic group Dignity and Truth.

Protesters later began a march toward the Constitutional Court.

The demonstrators are angry about falling living standards in the impoverished country where the average monthly salary is just 220 euros (£168). They say pro-European parties, which have been in power since 2009, have failed to carry out reforms and want Parliament dissolved and early elections. They are also calling for a full inquiry into the disappearance of up to 1.5 billion dollars (£1.1bn) from three banks prior to parliamentary elections in 2014.

Sunday's protest came after demonstrators stormed Parliament last week as lawmakers approved a new pro-European government. Thousands demonstrated for three days running.

Moldova has been mired in instability since 2014 and has had five prime ministers in the last year. Parliament would have been dissolved if it had failed to approve a government by January 29.

Press Association

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