Thu, Apr 09, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Moldovan riot police regain control of parliament building, president’s office

AP , CHISINAU

Protesters stand outside the looted and burning parliament building in Chisinau on Tuesday. Protesters denouncing a communist election victory in Moldova broke into parliament, where they hurled furniture and computers into the street.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Moldovan riot police regained control of the president’s office and parliament early yesterday after they were ransacked by protesters who say parliamentary elections were rigged.

A reporter saw about 100 riot police surround the buildings, which had been stormed a day earlier by protesters who set fire to furniture and hurled computers out of the windows.

More than 50 people were injured.

Police arrested 193 people, including eight minors, on charges of “hooliganism and robbery” following the protests against the ruling Communist Party’s victory in weekend elections, Interior Ministry Spokeswoman Ala Meleca said.

Authorities yesterday cleared streets littered with smashed computers and furniture from the parliament building. They swept up burnt documents and shards of glass. Every window on the first six floors of the 11-story parliament building had been smashed.

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin yesterday accused Romania of being behind the protests and declared its ambassador to Moldova, Filip Teodorescu, persona non grata, Russian language news agency Newsmoldova said.

Romania’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Moldova was part of Romania until 1940.

On Tuesday the president blamed pro-European opposition parties in his country for the violence, calling them “fascists [who] want to destroy democracy and independence in Moldova.”

Voronin’s Communist Party, which has been in power since 2001, won about 50 percent of the vote in Sunday elections.

The violence started on Tuesday after at least 10,000 mostly young protesters gathered outside parliament, demanding new elections.

The demonstrations continued yesterday.

International observers said Moldova’s election was fair, but Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca, deputy leader of the opposition Liberal Party, said many people voted more than once.

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