CHISINAU, October 6 (RIA Novosti) – Supporters of Moldova’s communists staged mass rallies this weekend demanding the resignation of the country’s pro-European government and calling for closer ties with Russia, local media reported Sunday.
Thousands of people in major cities in southern, northern and central Moldova, a struggling and impoverished former Soviet nation of 3.5 million tucked between Romania and Ukraine, took to the streets calling for the early parliamentary election.
Protesters voiced their dissatisfaction with Moldova’s pro-Europe policies, as the country prepares to sign a free trade agreement with the EU in November, and also said they were concerned about the growing corruption and crime, pressure on courts, business and mass media, weakening social programs and unemployment.
At a rally in Orhei, to the north of Moldova’s capital Chisinau, protesters said “Moldovans are now suffering more than during the war: schools are being destroyed, banks are being stolen, and the airport, factories, Aroma [Moldovan wine producer], Moldtelecom [national telecommunications operator] and railways are next in turn,” moldnews.md reported.
Moldova was hit last month with a Russian ban on its wine and spirits, a move widely seen as Moscow’s response to the country’s EU drive. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also predicted a cold winter during a visit to Chisinau last month.
“I hope you don’t freeze,” Rogozin said. He also said Moldova's policy of European integration represented a threat for any lasting settlement in the largely Russian-speaking region known as Transdniestria.
Mass anti-government protests, organized by the opposition’s Communist Party, have been held in Moldova since late September. The protesters block national roads and stage pickets at national television and Moldovan Prosecutor General's Office.