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    Police in Moldova regain control after riots -2

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    Police in Moldova's capital Chisinau regained control of the parliament's building overnight following two days of mass opposition protests against the recent parliamentary elections, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said.

    (Recasts para 3, adds para 4)

    CHISINAU, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Police in Moldova's capital Chisinau regained control of the parliament's building overnight following two days of mass opposition protests against the recent parliamentary elections, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said. (Riots in Moldova - Image Gallery) 

    "To maintain law and order in Chisinau, police were forced to use their weapons but they fired blanks," the spokeswoman said. "In general, this was a crowd of drunk and stoned youngsters," she added.

    Police detained a number of rioters and looters "who seized the parliament building and the president's office" on Wednesday night, Moldovan Prosecutor General Valeriu Gurbulea told journalists.

    The Interior Ministry later said 193 protesters had been detained in Chisinau. "They have been charged with looting, hooliganism, robbery and assault," the spokeswoman said.

    Additional police forces have been brought in to reinforce central Chisinau and maintain control of government and media buildings. Police are carrying out document checks on city streets and roads leading to the capital.

    The protests began on Monday, following the Communist Party's victory in Sunday's parliamentary polls. The country's President Vladimir Voronin is due to step down on May 7, but his party won just enough seats in parliament to be able to elect a successor without requiring votes from any other party.

    Protests against the ruling Communist Party's election victory turned violent in Moldova's capital on Tuesday with 5,000 rioters taking control of the presidential residence and nearby parliament.

    Around hundred protesters were injured and required medical treatment following clashes with police. The Interior Ministry said 96 police officers were injured with 43 of them hospitalized.

    The protesters demanded a recount of the election results which they claimed were rigged. Some rioters also called for the unification of Moldova and Romania, now an EU member-state.

    The Moldovan Foreign Ministry requested that the Romanian ambassador, Lidia Gucu, take part in consultations in Chisinau. Romania has meanwhile called on both sides to refrain from violence.

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