Who were the people seen around the world storming the Moldovan president's office, throwing computers out of the window, and guzzling champagne? Not us, says Oleg Brega, a member of the one of the groups that organised the original protests against the Communist regime.
On Tuesday, protestors angered by the Communist Party’s victory in Moldova’s legislative election stormed the office of the presidency and entered the parliament compound. Some then left with furniture and computers, which they burnt in the street (see photos) to cries of "Down with the communists" and "We want a re-count of the vote". President Vladimir Voronin, of Moldova’s Communist Party (PCM), has accused Romania of being behind the riots, a claim Bucharest immediately denied.
"People are yelling 'Down with the Communists' and 'Libertate'"
Oleg Brega, a 35-year-old filmmaker in Chisinau, Moldova, is a founding member of Hyde Park, a group opposed to Moldova's communist president, Vladimir Voronin. His group, founded in 2003 after his radio show of the same name was shut down, helped organise protests after this weekend's legislative elections, but he says the protests were hijacked by young people under pressure from the police.
I'm a member of Hyde Park, which helped start the protests on Monday morning. But our group ended our involvement on Monday evening because it became clear that the protests were being hijacked by certain forces in order to make a spectacle for the benefit of the ruling party. At 8pm on Monday night, the first day of protests, certain people stayed behind in the central square and started committing illegal acts. I saw 20 people who looked and behaved like drug users. They were at least drunk, possibly on drugs. On Tuesday there were more, around 100, being very aggressive, hard to control, hard to talk to. We understood that the protests were going to be hijacked for other purposes, so our group withdrew. We did not participate in Tuesday's unrest. I believe that the ruling Communist Party provoked them.
For sure, not all the young people who stormed the president's office on Tuesday were provocateurs. Of course, there were ordinary students involved. Moldova is one of the poorest countries in the region. All the borders are closed - east and west, there's a high rate of unemployment. We are all angry, and any person can be influenced and provoked.
As for the president's claim that Romania played a role - it's not at all true. A lot of Moldovans travel to Romania because we feel like one nation, and a lot of Romanians live, work and study in Moldova. But I've seen no sign of Romanian involvement in the street protests.
Right now (3pm Wednesday), I'm at a demo in the central square, Piata Marii Adunari Nationale, and there seem to be more provocations. Someone's throwing things at the police, but other people are telling them not to, not to confront the police. People are yelling "Down with the Communists" and "Libertate" (freedom)."
Photos taken by "Alexandru" in front of parliament and the presidency onTuesday
Peaceful demo on the capital's main square.
The protests spill over. Photos taken in front of parliament.