Moldova: Hunger strikers in Balti resist oligarchy’s repression

In Balti, new repression against supporters of Renato Usatii

January 13: The authorities are trying to prevent the holding of a referendum on confidence in the mayor of the city of Balti, Renato Usatii. [Usatti is a popular left-wing opposition leader in Moldova and head of “Our Party.” He was forced into exile by the regime of oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc in 2016, and is currently staying in Russia.]

Balti municipal councilors went on hunger strike to protest repression Jan. 15.
According to Omega news agency, municipal councilors of “Our Party” received a summons, in which they were “invited” to appear before investigators on January 17. It is possible that the detention of a number of councilors is being prepared, as on January 18 the Balti Municipal Council will consider organizing a local referendum on confidence in Usatii.

It is also known that early in the morning on Saturday, on the order of Gheorghe Kavkalyuk, dozens of employees of the Directorate for Special Operations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs left for Balti and are preparing for the possible detention of local elected representatives.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office have not yet reported on the purpose of the Balti operation to put pressure on local elected representatives from the opposition party, reports Omega.

Kavkalyuk is known for his involvement in the organization of political repression by the police in 2014-2015.

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URGENT: Balti Councilors went on a hunger strike

January 15: As a sign of protest against the repression resumed by the authorities against local Balti councilors from the faction of Renato Usatii’s “Our Party,” local elected representatives went on a hunger strike. They notified representatives of diplomatic missions in Moldova of their decision, noting the unprecedented pressure on them by the ruling Democratic Party of oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is trying with all his might to prevent a referendum on confidence in the mayor of the “northern capital,” Renato Usatii.

Earlier, representatives of the Democratic Party secretly declared their intention to abolish local elections in Moldova, to make it possible to appoint mayors convenient to the authorities.

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“Our Home is Moldova” party expressed solidarity with the municipal councilors of Balti

January 16: The political party “Our Home is Moldova” (Red Bloc) declared its support and solidarity with the protesting councilors from “Our Party” of the Balti Municipal Council, which declared an unlimited hunger strike against the repression of the criminal regime of Plahotniuc.

Supporters of Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc).
“In its actions, the anti-people regime long ago went beyond the bounds of legality and common sense. Trying to destroy its competitors, the Democratic Party resorts to gangster methods, simultaneously using the entire repressive machine and administrative resources. We strongly condemn the attacks and any form of pressure on local self-government.

“The hunger strike declared by the majority of municipal councilors of Balti in protest against reprisals is a worthy and courageous step in the fight against the regime. All opposition forces are obliged to express their solidarity and not to give in to threats and extortion of local elected representatives! Only together can we liberate the country from the criminals in power!” said the statement.

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Petrenko: “The actions of the Balti councilors are worthy of respect!”

January 16: The hunger strike, announced by municipal councilors of Balti from the “Our Party” faction, as a form of protest against the repression of the Plahotniuc regime against the opposition, is worthy of respect. This is what former MP and leader of the political party “Our Home is Moldova” Grigory Petrenko, who knows firsthand about the methods of reprisal by Plahotniuc against dissidents, wrote on social media. [Petrenko and several of his comrades were imprisoned and held under house arrest in 2015-2016. He is currently in exile in Germany.]

Grigory Petrenko
“I want to express words of support and solidarity with all residents of Balti! I do not think that anything like this has happened in the history of local self-government in the countries of the Council of Europe. I am sure that this regime will end only as a result of the struggle and resistance of citizens. The Balti Council today is certainly giving an example of how to fight the criminal regime. Well done!” wrote Grigory Petrenko.

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Translated by Greg Butterfield

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