Moldova: Police who used tear gas against peaceful protesters identified

August 29: Some of the police officers who used physical force and tear gas against women, children and elderly people at the Independence Day events in Chisinau on Saturday, August 27, have been identified. This was stated on Monday, August 29, by attorney Anna Ursachi and former deputy Alexander Petkov, who were also among the protesters.

“Our own forces have already identified some of the police officers who used physical force and special equipment — tear gas, which is prohibited by law at such events. The police acted without giving prior warning. We demand that the rest be identified and those responsible punished.

“After August 27, Zhizdan is the Minister of Shame (Alexander Zhizdan, Interior Minister – Ed.). As the representative of a government that proclaims itself democratic, he should resign,” Ursachi said at a press conference in front of the Ministry of the Interior, where organizers presented evidence and photographs of the Interior Ministry officers.

According to former deputy Alexander Petkov, what happened on August 27 was the “apex of lawlessness,” tested at the protest on April 24.

“What happened on Saturday, August 27, on the Grand National Assembly Square, this is the apex of lawlessness. Because this follows the test held on April 24, when Zhizdan, who, incidentally, was involved in the arson of Parliament on April 7, 2009, together with [Deputy Interior Minister Valentin] Zubikom, tested tear gas on people, which is prohibited by law, and watched the reaction,” said Petkov.

During a press conference, Interior Minister Alexander Zhizdan acknowledged that police had used tear gas and that “violence was used” against demonstrators, justifying it by the fact that the protesters “were very aggressive.”

“I want to apologize to citizens who have suffered as a result of the use of tear gas. It was an effort which the Interior Ministry knew about in advance,” Zhizdan said.

Recall that on August 27, in the context of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Moldova, authorities organized a military parade and concert. However, the holiday was not organized for everyone. Authorities closed off access to the Grand National Assembly Square with a fence and several police cordons, with special access points for the elite.

Citizens who wanted to express their disagreement with the actions of the ruling regime as part of the campaign #NuMăTem (I’m not afraid), initiated in social networks, were not allowed through the police cordons.

Moreover, police forced protesters to leave and even used tear gas against people who chanted, “Plahotniuc, do not forget your home is prison,” “Down with the mafia” and “Down with the dictatorship!”


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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