Saturday 11 April 2009

Heaven or hell: Will Moldovan protests enter the next stage tomorrow?

For tomorrow, 11 am EET (10 am CET), the three main opposition parties in Moldova are calling for new protests on the Piaţa Marii Adunări Naţionale (PMAN), demonstrating against the harsh reprisals of the Communist regime during the last days.

In order to understand the situation, I have tried to get voices from Moldova during the last days.

What I get are responses that openly show that very optimistic or at least realistic people have become very negative since Tuesday. Most express fear and confusion about a situation that is new in Moldova, unseen in the last 20 years. Most think that the riots which broke out last Tuesday were provoked by actors that would profit from a situation in which the demonstration against alleged frauds during the elections would not end peacefully.

I see and hear open criticism about the international community in Chisinau and abroad, for its lack of action, for its diplomatic restraint. But I have also heard criticism about the political opposition that lacks true leadership and which continued what it was doing during the election campaign: Jumping from complaint to complaint, but mostly without presenting professional proof for the allegations.

But is most striking is the shocked tone when people describe the reactions from the Communist authorities during the last days, arresting hundreds of young people, beating national and expelling international journalists, blocking independent and critical news sources, provoking a diplomatic conflict with Romania. Even people who have seen worse in the past are horrified by what is going on now.

And what I see now is determination for tomorrow's demonstrations.

I am not sure whether the opposition will get enough people on the streets to make itself heard, in Moldova and abroad, especially with the overrated Twitter #pman hashtag being just noise by now. I am not sure whether certain elements will not be able to turn a protest that is intended to be peaceful into violent demonstrations again.

And I am not sure about the reactions of a state and its authorities which have shown considerable paranoia lately - a state which might be ready to overreact against its own citizens in the best manners of an autocratic state that is afraid of losing control and that has received open support for repressive measures by Russian authorities, those Russian authorities that also foster the internal but internationalised conflict with the separatist Transnistrian region in Moldova.

The question is: Where is Moldova going tomorrow - to heaven or to hell?

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Mihai said...

Julian I don't think there will be violence tomorrow, at least not from the protesters/opposition. The communists have managed to arrest, beat, frighten pretty much everyone that was against them.

I saw videos of students being beaten only because they talked with foreign media. Some of the few independent journalists in Moldova were beaten and had to ask for political asylum from other states.

At the same time Voronin is continuing the attacks against my country (Romania) having proofs such as "opposition parties had Romanian advisers". Well, here in Romania parties have American, Jewish, British etc. advisers and nobody considers that a crime.
I don't know where Moldova will go today but I'm afraid that without western pressure it will become a second Belarus. Unfortunately the people who could prevent that seem to enjoy the Easter holiday.

C(h)ristian said...

I am not really that sure we will witness to such a clear parting of waters. The devil hides usually in the details, so the ominous 60 representatives in the new parliament of Moldova is to watch closely.
Unfortunately without media over-exposure everything will be suffocated by a classic media intoxication campaign and silence will reign once more over that corner of Europe.