Thousands rally in Moldova to demand early elections

Thousands of protesters gathered in the capital of Moldova on Sunday to call for early elections and an end to the political influence of oligarchs in the poor Eastern European nation.

Following a march through the streets of central Chisinau, more than 15,000 opponents of the new pro-European government rallied outside the main square to demand the cabinet's resignation, Russian news agencies reported.

In the crowd were members of the grass-roots Dignity and Truth movement, which was formed last year when a billion dollars - about one-eighth of Moldova's gross domestic product - went missing from local banks, crippling the economy.

Also in attendance were supporters of the socialist party, who back Moldova's traditionally strong ties with its former Soviet ruler Moscow and who have denounced the new cabinet as illegitimate.

Last year Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU, angering locals who believe the country has fared better with support from Russia.

There have been frequent protests against Prime Minister Pavel Filip since his appointment earlier this month. Thousands of protesters clashed with police outside the parliament building during his swearing-in ceremony last week.

Many object to Filip's links to fellow Democratic Party member Vladimir Plahotniuc, a wealthy businessman and media mogul who is seen a moving the levers of power in Chisinau.

A pro-government rally that had been scheduled Sunday was called off due to security concerns, Russian news agencies reported.

Last update: Sun, 24/01/2016 - 18:58

More from Europe

NATO strongly supports Ukraine's integrity, says Croatian FM

NATO strongly supports Ukraine's territorial integrity and the European Union's sanctions against Russia will remain...

Three detained in France for connection to police killings

Three men have been detained in France for their suspected links to Larossi Abballa, the extremist who killed two...

Political veteran Doris Leuthard elected Swiss president for 2017

Centre-right politician Doris Leuthard will serve as Swiss president next year, the parliament decided Wednesday in...

Merkel's CDU gets tough on migration, taking aim at dual citizenship

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) want to sharpen up Germany's migrant rules with a...

Today's Europe is lacking forward-looking leaders, Pope Francis says

Europe today has no forward-looking leaders, according to Pope Francis, who hailed the postwar generation of...