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Moldovan leader accuses opposition of betrayal

18:49 | 08/ 04/ 2009

MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin accused the opposition on Wednesday of betraying the interests of the country and attempting to trigger a civil war during disturbances in the capital, Chisinau.

Protests against the ruling Communist Party's victory in Sunday's elections turned violent on Tuesday, with 5,000 rioters taking control of the presidential residence and nearby parliament building.

"The Moldovan people for the first time saw the opposition openly betray its own people and its own country by taking the path of provoking open civil war. The whole country saw that there is no opposition whatsoever in Moldova - neither anti-Communist, nor anti-Voronin. There is only opposition to the state," the president said

The Moldovan Cabinet also approved on Wednesday Voronin's decision to introduce from Thursday a visa regime with Romania, accused by Chisinau of involvement in the riots. The Romanian ambassador has also been expelled.

Bucharest has denied encouraging the disturbances, which saw some protestors call for unification with Romania. Moldova was part of Romania after World War I before being annexed by the Soviet Union in World War II. It declared independence on August 27, 1991, after the failed coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

"What happened yesterday brought indelible shame on our politicians, on the whole of our democracy. The entire Moldovan nation witnessed the greatest humiliation of its own sovereignty and its own democracy when the state standards were ripped from the flagpoles of parliament and the president's office and replaced with the flags of Romania," Voronin said.

He also said the April 7 riots had left 170 police officers and more than 100 civilians injured.

The Moldovan leader also said the authorities would not object if the republic's top election commission decided to recount election votes.

"We never set ourselves the goal of falsifying the polls. We did not even consider this. All accusations of falsification should be dealt with in court," he told a government meeting.

Moldovan police have said protestors could attempt to storm the government building where Voronin is currently meeting the Cabinet.

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