Hundreds took to the streets of the Moldova’s capital Chisinau, on Sunday to protest against a display of NATO and US military vehicles.
US and NATO soldiers had organized an exhibition of military vehicles and equipment on a central square in Chisinau earlier in the day, but were forced to leave following the demonstration.
Russia Today reports:
The exhibition of US military equipment on the city’s Great National Assembly Square on Sunday was presented as part of the V-Day celebrations, but instead provoked hundreds of protesters to take to the streets in outrage.
Activists opposing NATO’s presence in the country waved banners that read “Go home,”“We don’t need NATO,” and “Moldova is a neutral state.
Protesters also reportedly handed out St. George ribbons, a symbol of victory in post-Soviet states, to the American soldiers before the exhibition, which saw about two dozen infantry, engineering vehicles and military trucks being showcased to the public. However, soon after the protests began, the exhibition was rolled up, and the US troops returned to their stationing site in Negresti, some 20 kilometers outside Chisinau.
The American-NATO troops were supposed to join the V-Day march on May 9 to celebrate the victory over the Nazis and commemorate those fallen in the WWII. Following the ensuing controversy, however, the contingent was allowed only to hold the ill-fated military exhibition ahead of the event.
Igor Dodon, head of the Moldovan Socialist party, branded the invitation of NATO troops to take part in V-Day festivities as a “provocation geared to spoil the Victory celebrations,” TASS reported.
“NATO servicemen have committed another symbolic act of mockery over Orthodox believers, having once again demonstrated their occupational intentions,” he added, according to Sputnik.
Dodon had slammed the exercises earlier as a “military occupation” and called the display of American troops on V-Day a “slap in the face of Constitution, which stipulates neutrality.”
The activists lashed out at the government for what they believe was an attempt to drag Moldova into some kind of a military confrontation, demanding that the government adhere to its neutral status.
“Moldova is a peaceful and neutral state. We take part in no military blocs and don’t want war. We saw what happened in Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria. If you don’t go before tomorrow, there will be thousands of us here,” stressed Vlad Batrîncea, a Moldovan MP from the Party of Socialists, as cited by TASS.
Last week, the country’s president, Nicolae Timofti, also took a stance against the demonstration of US military prowess on May 9, on which the celebrations were scheduled, while confronting Moldovan Defense Minister Anatol Salaru in a letter published on Wednesday.