Saturday, April 11, 2009

Moldova Has Proof Romania Involved In Riots President

CHISINAU, Moldova (AFP)--Moldova's president Friday said he had specific proof of Romanian involvement in anti-Communist riots this week that sparked a diplomatic crisis with Romania.

Communist President Vladimir Voronin said liberal opposition parties had spoken at the highest level with the Romanian embassy and Romanian "citizens and combat specialists" had taken part in the riots.

It was the latest verbal attack by the Moldovan authorities against neighboring Romania.

"What we know already constitutes a basis of proof in this sense," he said.

The Communists cemented their eight-year dominance of Moldovan politics in the weekend polls, gaining 60 of the 101 seats in the new parliament which will soon decide on a successor to Voronin.

But the results triggered major unrest as an anti-communist youth movement, supported by the opposition, took to the streets to denounce the elections as flawed.

Dozens were wounded and almost 200 arrested after the riots that saw protesters storm parliament and hurl furniture onto the street below.

In stark contrast to the scenes of chaos this week, only a handful of protesters Friday responded to a new call by opposition youth groups to denounce the election.

After boasting of using restrained tactics in that protest, Voronin has vowed to clamp down hard against any future riots in Europe's poorest country.

In his new comments, Voronin accused the liberal opposition of initiating the riots, saying they had used students with the help of criminals to launch an attempted "street putsch".

"Only the extraordinary sang froid of the Moldovan authorities allowed thousands of young lives to be saved and return the political process to a relatively normal routine," he said.

There has been concern over the fate of those arrested after the demonstrations and Amnesty International has urged the government to distinguish between troublemakers and peaceful activists.

Youth opposition groups summoned supporters using telephone SMS text messages and social networking Web sites at the start of the week but the turnout exceeded their expectations and events rapidly swung out of control.

The established political opposition was also apparently caught out by the protests, acknowledging they had been established by youth groups and were taken aback by their magnitude.

Election results released Wednesday showed the Communists garnered 49.48% percent of the vote, gaining 60 parliament seats - one less than the three- fifths required for the party to control the presidential election.

The new parliament will elect a successor to Voronin who has served the maximum two mandates allowed.

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