March 30, 2023

The protest action, organized by the political party “Shor”, on Thursday, March 16, was scheduled for eleven o’clock in the morning. The column of protesters against the pro-European government of Moldova consisted of a much smaller number of participants than before – about two thousand people. However, the demonstrators in Chisinau blocked half of the roadway of the central Stefan the Great Avenue, and carried a banner “No war in Moldova” in front of them.

The column was headed by five of the six deputies of the parliamentary faction Party “Shor”. The leader of the party, businessman Ilan Shor, is on the international wanted list in connection with the theft of $1 billion from the country’s banking system and runs a faction from Israel.

Former slogans for the “Shor” action

The purpose of the action, according to the organizers, was to put pressure on the country’s parliament so that the deputies passed a law obliging the government to pay citizens the sharply increased utility bills for three winter months. The “Shorites” decided to go to the parliament on Thursday after the Moldovan government ignored the previous protestswhich allegedly adopted resolutions addressed to the Prime Minister.

The day before, on March 15, Igor Grosu, chairman of the parliament from the ruling Action and Solidarity (PAS) party, on the air of the Jurnal TV channel, qualified the Shor protests as actions to destabilize the situation in the country, organized by Russian special services and politicians who violated the law. He called on the prosecutor’s office and the country’s Constitutional Court to respond and declare the Shor party illegal.

On March 16, the procession and the rally that followed it actually had different themes. During the movement, the demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans, and the main message was still “Down with Maia Sandu” to the president of the country. Having come up with the parliament building, they clashed with supporters of the pro-Western vector of the country’s development, who came out to remind that almost all deputies from the Shor party are under investigation either for the theft of a billion or for illegal financing. After a short but intense scuffle, the police parted the opponents in different directions.

The action on March 16 was not without a brawl
The action on March 16 was not without a brawlPhoto: Alexander Burakov/DW

Rally in Chisinau: lists, money, expectation

The rally near the parliament building was traditionally led by the vice-chairman of the Shor party, Marina Tauber, and the topic changed abruptly there. She recalled that Ilan Shor came up with the idea of ​​paying utility bills by the government, and the government does not want to follow the will of the people. Her colleague Regina Apostolova complained that the Moldovan authorities have again been delaying buses in different parts of the country with residents of the province wishing to take part in the protests in the capital since the very morning. This she explained the relatively small number of participants, and the crowd began to chant “Down with the dictatorship.”

But by this point, most of the demonstrators had lost all interest in it. No more than 500 people rallied near the platform in front of the parliament, and the rest, among whom there were many representatives of obviously disadvantaged sections of society, simply waited for the end of the rally on the roadway.

Some protesters were shocked by their spontaneity. While the speakers called for “taking power into their own hands,” demonstrators from villages ten paces from the podium were photographed for financial reports. The correspondent of DW, marked with a journalistic badge, managed to photograph how the foreman of such an extras captures on the phone his wards, holding a sheet of paper with the date of the action – 03/16/2023 in front of him.

Photo for financial report
Photo for financial reportPhoto: Alexander Burakov/DW

The presence of the press confused the curator, but not the women. They hid a sheet of paper, but expressed their indignation, as a lot of people came, and everyone needs to get in the photo. No one hid that the payment for participation in the action would depend on this. At the same time, other brigadiers, without any hesitation, checked the lists of those they had brought right in the course of the rally. And as soon as the photos for the reports were taken, those responsible began to roll up and collect the flags.

How pensioners in Moldova make money on politics

Two hours after the start of the action, the police have already begun to gradually clear the central avenue of Chisinau and start the movement. And at the end of the rally, about half of the participants migrated to the Opera and Ballet Theater, located across the street. There, foremen counted budgets and told the protesters where to go to the buses to go home.

Verification of lists at the theater building after the rally on March 16
Verification of lists at the theater building after the rally on March 16Photo: Alexander Burakov/DW

The DW correspondent managed to walk along the avenue with one such group of 18 people – that’s how many fit in a minibus. Elderly people went to the direction of the Chisinau central market, where a certain person had to give them money for participating in the action. Nobody hides the fact that the rallies are paid, and their participants are interested in as many actions as possible.

pension in Moldova is about 2,000 lei (exactly 100 euros in equivalent), explained a resident of one of the villages, and 400 lei (20 euros) are paid for participation in the Shor campaign. That is, if rallies are held once a week, in a month you can de facto earn one more pension, and this is a lot for a rural resident. Therefore, some come with families.

After 40 minutes, lines of minibuses stretched from Chisinau to different regions of the country.

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