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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09CHISINAU288 2009-04-08 16:28:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Chisinau
Cable title:  

PROTESTS PEACEFUL, FOCUS TURNS

Tags:   PGOV PHUM KDEM MD RO 
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RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHCH #0288/01 0981628
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081628Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY CHISINAU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7862
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CHISINAU 000288 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/UMB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM MD RO
SUBJECT: PROTESTS PEACEFUL, FOCUS TURNS
TO POLITICAL FALLOUT Q Summation to
April 8

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please
Protect Accordingly.



1. (SBU) Summary: Political protest
continued April 8, but the crowd
remained peaceful, and was much smaller
than the previous day. Speeches and
slogans continued, but to a much smaller
crowd in a relaxed atmosphere. The
focus has now turned from the streets to
political accusations. Both Russian
media and official GOM statements blamed
Romanian interference for yesterday's
violent events, and relations with
Romania have soured significantly. The
Romanian Ambassador was declared persona
non grata, and President Voronin
announced that Romanians will now need
visas to enter Moldova. Train service
to Romania has been cut for today and
tomorrow. Additionally, various
political parties are trading
accusations, blaming each other for the
events. End Summary.

A Dwindling Crowd Remained Peaceful


--------------------------





2. (SBU) By mid-day April 8 several
thousand protesters had gathered in the
main square. The crowd was waving flags
and carrying signs, listening to
speeches and chanting slogans. As of
5:00 P.M. there were no reports of
violence during the day. An afternoon
observer noted demonstrators were eating
ice cream and police were relaxing and
chatting. One incident where protesters
near the parliament tried to throw
stones was quickly subdued. Some
protestors are threatening a violent
takeover of the main government
building, if the arrested protestors
were not released, and if the Central
Election Commission (CEC) did not
release official results today.



3. (SBU) Some of the opposition leaders
were trying to keep the focus on
elections issues. During one speech
Chisinau Mayor Dorin Chirtoaca (and
Liberal Party deputy leader) said he was
still appealing to the Central Election
Commission for a recount and presented
an old woman who said she had been paid
200 lei (USD 18) to vote Communist.
Chirtoaca said that he also had a lot of
other evidence to prove that the vote-
count was fraudulent, and called for a
repeat election.

GOM Blames Romania, Relations Sour


--------------------------





4. (SBU) President Voronin convened
rectors, professors, local authorities
and NGOs and called on them to stop
students from going to protests. He
said that complaints about the election
results were only a pretext for
organizing a coup d'etat masterminded by
"foreign secret services." As a result,
the Romanian Ambassador was declared
persona non grata and a new visa regime
was introduced for Romanian citizens.
Rail service to Romania was cut off, at
least for today and tomorrow.

Accusations and Counter-Accusations


--------------------------





5. (SBU) The GOM has officially blamed
opposition leaders Chirtoaca, Urechean
and Filat for the violence. PLDM leader
Vlad Filat, accused PCRM and PPCD
(Christian Democrats, in coalition with
the PCRM) of devastating the Presidency

CHISINAU 00000288 002 OF 002


and the Parliament buildings in order to
distract people's attention from
electoral frauds. In addition,
opposition leader Filat said in an April
8 press conference, that the previous
day's vandalism was organized by 50
members of the "New Generation"
Organization of the PPCD. Filat claimed
that these actions were possible only
with the support of the police and the
Service Information and Security
(intelligence agency), which should have
prevented the violence, but did not.
PPCD leader Iurie Rosca said the events
were orchestrated according to a Russian
plan, and accused ex-president Petru
Lucinschi of involvement in its
organization. (Note: We've heard
elsewhere that President Voronin is also
accusing Lucinschi of organizing the
events.)

Comment


--------------------------





6. (SBU) By focusing on the Romanian
angle, the GOM is shifting the focus away
from opposition complaints of electoral
fraud. The most effective way to put to
bed the allegations of fraud would be to
allow a recount, publish data by polling
station to show how national totals were
calculated, and review voter lists. By
shifting blame to Bucharest, the
government can try to avoid addressing
the accusation of electoral fraud. A
souring of Moldova's relations with
Romania will also jeopardize Moldova's
interactions with the EU. The Russians
have joined in the accusations against
the Romanians, allying with Voronin's
suspicions. The Russians are driving
Voronin back into their waiting arms.
Any appearance that the Moldovan
population desires unification with
Romania (as a few protestors have
chanted) could help put the brakes on the
5-plus-2 process. As Russia plays on the
perception that Moldova wants
reunification, the Transnistrians will
have a greater excuse for refusing to
come to the table.
CHAUDHRY