Beneath Moldova’s soaring parliament building, a parade of its most precarious file slowly past – bussed in by the thousand from across the country, each with their private tale of poverty and frustration.
“We’re a laughing stock – the government is mocking us,” Ala tells me.
Capped in a blue woollen hat, she thrusts her wide pale face close to mine, and says: “There are people with four or five children who literally have nothing to eat.”
Energy bills here now consume more than 70% of household income, according to Moldova’s president.
Ala tells me they swallow half of her pension.
“When we elected this government, they promised to raise salaries and pensions, but so far we haven’t seen a penny,” she says.
Sunday’s protests, organised by Moldova’s pro-Russian Sor party, are being closely watched by governments across Europe and beyond. Most protesters travelled to the capital city Chisinau by bus, with their costs reportedly covered by the Sor party.
Days before the gathering took place, President Maia Sandu warned that Russia was plotting to send military-trained saboteurs into the country, disguised as civilians, to topple her pro-Western government. [Continue reading…]