Moldova: Red Bloc condemns arrest of anti-oligarchy protesters, demands unconditional release

The opposition party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), led by former deputy Grigory Petrenko, who spent almost 8 months under arrest after participating in anti-oligarchy protests, denounces the arrest of April 24 protesters organized by the DA Platform, and calls for their unconditional release.

This was announced on Thursday, May 12, by party leader Grigory Petrenko, who held the first press conference since his release under judicial control.

Red Bloc leader Grigory Petrenko at May 12 press conference in Chisinau, Moldova.
Photo: Greg Butterfield

“Despite the fact that we have been released, you see new cases where protesters are illegally arrested by the police to intimidate others from protesting. I believe that the main purpose of our arrest was intimidation. Bullying us sent a message to all opposition forces, to active civil society, which wanted to protest, and I’m sure that the Plahotniuc regime used our case for intimidation,” Petrenko said.

The politician assured that “Plahotniuc failed to frighten us; we are even more determined to put an end to the dictatorial, anti-democratic and anti-popular regime.” These days, other protesters sit in our place, and it doesn’t matter that they are from DA Platform or other parties. We express our solidarity with them and condemn the actions of this regime. We demand the unconditional release of peaceful protesters who have done nothing illegal by protesting against the Plahotniuc regime,” said Petrenko.

According to the opposition party leader, “All political opposition forces should unite and support the arrested protesters, regardless of political views.”

“I appeal to all opposition leaders: Dodon, Usatii, Maia Sandu, Andrei Nastase, even if some have already spoken, we must unite if we do not want our activists to face the same fate in the future,” urged the former MP.

On May 5, four people who participated in the anti-oligarchy protests on April 24 near the home and offices of oligarch Plahotniuc were arrested and their homes raided. According to the police, they were four men between 24 and 50 years old from Orhei and Chisinau. They are charged with throwing stones at the police. If found guilty, they face up to 8 years in prison.

Recall that after the anti-oligarchy protests on April 24, organized by the DA Platform, police opened a criminal investigation into “mass disturbances” as a result of clashes between protesters and law enforcement officials, a record number of whom were deployed to protect the home and offices of oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc on Bulgarian Street in the capital.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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