Protests against the April 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election results, began on 6 April 2009, in major cities of Moldova (including Bălți and the capital, Chișinău) before the final official results 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, Bălți, where over 7,000 people protested.
Some of the protesters discussed and organized themselves using Twitter, hence its moniker used by the media, the Twitter Revolution. In Chișinău, where the number of protesters rose above 30,000, the demonstration escalated into a riot on 7 April. Rioters attacked the parliament building and presidential office, breaking windows, setting furniture on fire and stealing property.
|April 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election protests|
Protests in Chișinău after the April 2009 elections
|Location|| Chișinău, Cahul, Orhei, Bălți|
13 cities in Romania, including Bucharest
Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City
|Date||6–12 April 2009|
|Perpetrators||Anti-communist demonstrators, including supporters of pro-Romanian opposition parties, Romanian students and pro-EU activists|
No. of participants
|Protesters: around 50,000|
The unrest began as a public protest after the announcement of preliminary election results on 6 April 2009, which showed the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova victorious, winning approximately 50% of the votes. Final results, published on 8 April, 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.
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.
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".
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) International Election Observing Mission declared the elections generally free and fair, although it also reported that the comparison of data on the voting age population provided by the Moldovan Ministry of the Interior with the number of registered voters provided by local executive authorities revealed a discrepancy of some 160,000. A member of the OSCE observation team, Emma Nicholson disagreed with the assessment of the OSCE report on the fairness of the elections.
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. Exit polls had showed a comfortable win for the Communist Party, with the only uncertainty being the size of the winning margin.
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. 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. It was also claimed that the authorities have also printed more than one voting bulletin for certain persons.
The first demonstrations, organized as a flashmob by a 25-year-old Moldovan journalist Natalia Morar, began in Chişinău on 6 April 2009, with a larger number of demonstrators arriving on the next day, 7 April. The demonstration, numbering over ten thousand, most of them students and young people, gathered in the city center on Ştefan cel Mare boulevard. 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. 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.
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.
The emergency hospital of Chişinău reported treating over 78 injured police officers and protesters on 8 April, while the Moldovan president stated that 270 people were injured in the riots. 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. However, it was later reported that the woman was saved by a team of medics.
On the evening of 7 April, a group of protesters organised a National Salvation Committee, consisting of student and civic representatives. Writer Nicolae Dabija, a vice-president of the Committee said that the intended purpose of the Committee is to organise new elections. However, the protests died off as the police intervened during the night to arrest the protesters found in the square.
On 7 April, 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. 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."
Protests of solidarity with demonstrators in Chișinău took place in Cimișlia, Bălți, Ungheni and other Moldovan cities. Conversely, in some cities (especially in the autonomous region of Gagauzia) the actions of the protesters were condemned.
The protests continued on Sunday, 12 April, 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.
On the night following 7 April, 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. Among the protesters to be hospitalized after being beaten was Andrei Ivanțoc, formerly a political prisoner in Transnistria. 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.
Amnesty International accused the Moldovan government of violating human rights through the actions of the police, that it detained indiscriminately hundreds of protesters, including minors, who were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. The organization issued a memorandum to the Moldovan government about this case.
On 9 April, the Moldovan Prosecutor General's Office asked Ukraine to extradite Gabriel Stati, a Moldovan businessman whom the Moldovan government accused of being involved in the organization and financing of the civil unrest. Stati was in Ukrainian custody along with another suspect, Aurel Marinescu, for their alleged "involvement in organizing an attempt to overthrow the Moldovan government." On 16 April, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine approved the extradition of Stati and Marinescu.
Romanian journalists from Antena 3, TVR, and newspaper Gândul accused the Moldovan authorities of trying to intimidate them. On 10 April, Moldovan authorities arrested journalist Rodica Mahu (Editor-in-Chief of Jurnal de Chişinău) and Romanian journalist Doru Dendiu, the permanent correspondent of TVR in Moldova, for their alleged involvement in organizing the riots. However, Mahu and Dendiu were released from police questioning later that day, Dediu being told that he must leave Moldova. Another journalist, Natalia Morar, was put under house arrest. Also, the internet access in Chisinau was blocked in reason to limit citizens' access to news sites.
On 13 April, 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.
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. 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.
On 15 April, President Voronin called for a general amnesty and "an end to all forms of prosecution against participants in street protests", however, Chirtoacă announced that no protesters have been freed by 17 April.
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.
Four deaths occurred at the time of the unrest and have been linked to the events by various sources.
Following his arrest, a 23-year-old protester, Valeriu Boboc, died in a Chişinău hospital on 8 April 2009. 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. 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.
The body of a third protester, Eugen Ţapu, was handed to the relatives by the police on 16 April. 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. 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 7 April because the police refuse to provide further explanations and the dates of his death and the protest's day are the same. 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 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. Three of the dead showed signs of violence on their faces and bodies. The causes of their deaths remain unknown as of 2010.
On 8 October 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 7 April 2009, and especially during subsequent days and weeks.
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin, in an address on 7 April 2009, described the events in the capital as a coup d'état organised by "a handful of fascists drunk with anger" and declared that the Moldovan authorities will defend themselves against the "leaders of the pogrom". The President also urged the West to help restore order and resolve the conflict.
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".
Later on 8 April, 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." 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".
On 10 April 2009, Voronin called on the Constitutional Court of Moldova to authorise a recount of the votes. On 12 April 2009, it decided that there would be a recount. The recount was then set to take place on 15 April 2009. 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. The recount is scheduled to finish by 16 April 2009 and results will be submitted by 21 April 2009 to the CEC. The result of the election was not changed through the recount, as no serious errors were determined. The opposition maintain that the ballot was rigged, saying that recounting fraudulent ballots could only yield fraudulent results.
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. Romania denied all charges of being involved in the protests.
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. The following day, the Romanian parliament nominated a senior diplomat, Mihnea Constantinescu, as the new ambassador to Moldova, but two weeks later, the Moldovan government rejected him without any explanation, deepening the crisis.
The Moldovan government instituted visa requirements for Romanian citizens and closed the border between Romania and Moldova on 7 April. 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. 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. 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.
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.
After the civil unrest, the climate in Moldova became very polarized. The parliament failed to elect a new president. For this reason, the parliament was dissolved and snap elections were held. The 29 July 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.
In the spring of 2015, Moldova faced large-scale protests amid a worsening economic situation and corruption scandals. The protests gained momentum in September, when up to 100,000 people demonstrated in the largest protest since Moldova's independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.
The protests have been organised by a grass-roots citizens' movement, Dignity and Truth (Romanian: Demnitate și Adevăr), that was established in February 2015 as a response to the disappearance of $1 billion from the Moldovan banks in 2014. Dignity and Truth is led by lawyers, journalists and other well-known figures in Moldova.Media of Moldova
The media of Moldova refers to mass media outlets based in the Republic of Moldova. Television, magazines, and newspapers are all operated by both state-owned and for-profit corporations which depend on advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Moldova guarantees freedom of speech.
As a country in transition, Moldova's media system is under transformation.
For the situation in the separatist republic of Transnistria, see Media of TransnistriaMoldovan Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova (Romanian: Declarația de independență a Republicii Moldova) was a document adopted on 27 August 1991 by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova following the failure of the August coup attempt.ProTV Chișinău
Pro TV Chișinău is a private, generalist TV channel from Moldova, founded in 1999, operated by Prodigital SRL (initially - Mediapro SRL), part of CME trust. Besides some PRO TV Bucharest's programs, Pro TV Chișinău broadcasts, according to an own grid, several local newscasts and shows, as well as local advertising.
Pro TV Chișinău is one of the first private televisions in Moldova and one of the most important general TV in this country.
The company is managed, since foundation, by Cătălin Giosan.
Pro TV Chișinău's premises are located on 7, Pentru Maior Str., Chisinau.Twitter
Twitter () is an American online news and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets". Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017, this limit was doubled for all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service (SMS) or its mobile-device application software ("app"). Twitter, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California, and has more than 25 offices around the world.Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams and launched in July of that year. The service rapidly gained worldwide popularity. In 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day, and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day. In 2013, it was one of the ten most-visited websites and has been described as "the SMS of the Internet". As of 2016, Twitter had more than 319 million monthly active users. Since 2015, and continuing into 2016 and future years, Twitter has also been the home of debates, and news covering Politics of the United States, especially during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination, and 2018 United States Midterms, with Twitter proved to be the largest source of breaking news on the day of the 2016 election, with 40 million election-related tweets sent by 10:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) that day.