March 27: Brutal violations of human rights in Chisinau
In the early morning of March 27, Chisinau police has bitten and arrested representatives of Moldova’s civil society apparently without legal reasons.
First incident: NGO representatives arrested
Eight members of the non-governmental organization Hyde Park and their supporters were arrested, including Oleg Brega, Ghenadie Brega, Angela Lungu, Alina Didilica. The reason for their arrest was not made public by police, but it is well known that this group attempted to organize picketing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova, Embassy of Romania and the European Union mission in Chisinau on March 27. They wanted to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the unification of Bessarabia with Romania, by protesting against the „discrimination against Moldovan citizens of Romanian descent”. According to a Hyde Park’s press release, the request for such action was submitted in time to the Chisinau City Hall for proper authorization. The City Hal has refused to give a green light for such meeting. On March 26, the Hyde Park filed a complaint against the City Hall decision in the Court of Appeal.
„In accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights [of which the Republic of Moldova is a party], a meeting is legal if the organizer announced the local authorities about the event,” the Hyde Park communiqué says. „We submitted the request for this meeting, thus, the Chisinau City Hall has no legal grounds to prevent us from organizing it… The central and local authorities of Moldova are trying hard to prevent us from free expression and they violate our rights for meetings,” the NGO believes.
Last year, in a similar situation, the meeting was organized on March 27 only after Moldova’s Supreme Court, as the last judicial authority in the country, has considered that the Chisinau City Hall violated the law when refused to authorize meetings in the Moldovan capital.
Second incident: members of the Liberal Party, press representatives arrested and bitten
At around 11:00 AM the Moldovan police arrested 15 members of the Liberal Party, including party leaders Dorin Chirtoaca and Mihai Ghimpu and members of the young wing of this party. The group was going to the Central Cemetery downtown Chisinau to lay flowers on the graves of members of the Sfatul Tarii, Moldova’s assembly, who voted for the unification of Bessarabia with Romania 89 years ago, on March 27, 1918. The filming crew of the PRO TV station was also arrested. According to the Liberal party’s press release, without warnings, the police attached the group, although no irregularities, violations of public order were committed from neither members of the press nor members of this political party.
Background. The peaceful manifestations in Chisinau are organized to commemorate the 89th anniversary of the historical voting by the Sfatul Tarii, a Moldavia’s convocational general assembly. In 1917, Sfatul Tarii (Romanian transcript: Sfatul Ţării) convened in Chisinau to proclaim the establishment—and, soon after, the independence—of the former Russian province of Bessarabia under the name of the Moldavian Democratic Federated Republic. Described by Soviet historians as „counterrevolutionary” and „anti-Soviet” in orientation, the assembly initially had 120 deputies (21 November 1917), of which there were 84 Romanophone Moldovans and 36 Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, Bulgarians, Gagauz, Germans, and others. On March 27, 1918, when Sfatul Tarii voted the union with Romania, the assembly had 138 deputies. The vote was 86 in favor of the union and 3 against; 36 deputies abstained (26 of whom represented ethnic minorities) and 13 deputies were not present. Conditions for the union included the preservation of a certain degree of autonomy and the right to maintain Sfatul Tarii as a regional Diet. These conditions were dropped by Sfatul Tarii in November 1918, when the assembly proclaimed the unconditioned union with Greater Romania and voted its own dissolution.
Recent declarations of the Moldovan top governmental officials regarding the identity of Moldovans as apart from the Romanians are very much in line with the former policies of czarist Russia and of the Soviet Union.