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Tens Of Thousands Protest In Moldova Against Bank Fraud

Tens of thousands of people protested in Moldova’s capital on September 6, calling on the president to resign and early elections to take place over a $1 billion bank fraud that has lowered living standards. The protesters arrived in Chisinau from all regions after a new mass organization called DA (Demnitate și Adevăr, or Dignity and Truth) called on people to demonstrate in the central square outside the main government building. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Nicolae Timofti, the election of a new head of state, and the resignation of top officials at Moldova’s central bank and the Attorney General’s Office. Police estimate that there were 60,000 people present, which would make the protest bigger than the mass anticommunist demonstrations of April 2009. Protesters shouted slogans such as “We want our country back!” and “Down with the oligarchs.” Police clashed with supporters of the far left Red Bloc party after they marched to the prosecutor-general’s headquarters and attempted to break through a police cordon. According to Interfax, police detained several protesters, several others were injured, and one woman was hospitalized. Some 30 tents were set up in the evening on the main square of Chisinau and protesters vowed to remain there until their demands are met. Nearly $1 billion -- around one-eighth of the country’s gross domestic product -- disappeared from three banks shortly before the November 2014 parliamentary elections. The bank fraud prompted a rapid depreciation in the national currency, fueling inflation, and lowering living standards. Moldova’s pro-European prime minister, Valeriu Strelets, who took up the post in July, has promised to crack down on corruption.

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