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Where's Human Rights? or "Moldova's Twitter Activist Under House Arrest"

morar_natalia.jpg

April 16, 2009
By Kristin Deasy

Like many 25 year olds, Natalia Morar blogs. She has 152 posts, six "userpics," and three virtual gifts from friends. The last virtual gift was a detention slip. Before that, someone sent her handcuffs.

The virtual gifts -- all sent with plenty of :) :) :) -- were meant as a joke. But now that Morar is under house arrest for masterminding Moldova's "Twitter revolution," a 20,000-strong flash protest that stormed the country's parliament building on April 7, the gifts seem like warnings.

The street protests followed the announcement that Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin's ruling Communist Party had won more than half the votes in the April 5 parliamentary elections, a result that would allow it unilaterally to pick a president to succeed Voronin as well as a prime minister.

Morar's lawyer, Natalia Molosag, told RFE/RL on April 16 that her client could be charged with “inciting mass disorder" for her role in the demonstration, during which the offices of the president and the parliamentary building were ransacked and nearly 200 protestors were arrested.

Morar says her role in the protest was nonviolent, and her lawyer told RFE/RL that she was "worried" about the charges of "extreme violence, pogroms, in which she definitely did not take part." The charge carries an eight- to 15-year sentence.

Amid rumors of mass arrests of protesters and allegations that authorities had tortured some of those arrested, Morar announced on her blog on April 9 that "information about my arrest was false. I'm all right."

But Molosag says she doubts that Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin's promise to free the detained demonstrators would help Morar. On April 15, Morar's husband Ilya Barabanov used the blog to tell friends that his wife was safe but is afraid to contact anyone outside of her immediate family.

Cafe Plan

Morar never expected a plan hatched by six friends in a small Chisinau cafe would receive worldwide attention. "We decided to organize a flash mob" by "using Twitter, as well as networking sites and SMS," but "we expected at the most a couple hundred friends, friends of friends, and colleagues," Morar told "The Guardian." When she and her friends arrived on the square, they found an "unbelievable" crowd of 20,000.

On April 7, Morar described the protest on her blog: "Six people. Ten minutes for creativity and action. A few hours of information on networks, Facebook, blogs, SMS to friends, and an e-mail newsletter. All of the organization through the Internet. On the street came out 15,000 young people!... Only the young, and no parties." The post has 724 comments.

"Not only did we underestimate the power of Twitter and the Internet," Morar told "The Guardian," "we also underestimated the explosive anger among young people at the government's policies and electoral fraud."

After the protests President Vladimir Voronin and Moldova's Constitutional Court called for a recount. Results will be announced on April 17.

RFE/RL's Moldovan Service contributed to this report

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Comments

Maria de Chirikof's picture

The movie

I couldn't find a way to download it for later so only watched the first 15 minutes of it, I think. I will have my more tech savvy daughters figure it out for me and watch the rest of it when I can! They watch movies on here more then I do so will know what to do for me.

It is kind of exciting to see so many young people getting involved in changing the world they live in like this but it is sad that a lot of them ended up jailed or hurt because of it! But it is a hopeful sign that their bravery will inspire their parents and other adults that "all is not lost" and there is hope. I can imagine it is harder for the oldest ones to understand change and freedom since they can look around at free western countries and see crime and corruption everywhere with less caring for each other too. It can make the idea of staying how they were more appealing so it is good to see the youth getting involved and showing them they have the strength and desire to get involved and work for it.

I hope the recount is honest and your country can rule itself as it wishes!

Maria

aliĝngix's picture

This is an impressive

This is an impressive turnout, and thanks to Twitter we know the opinion of over 20,00 people. I hope since there were so many protesters, that they can ban together to get the 200 protester out of jail.
What started as a small idea became so big, and that's inspiring to see. Thanks for sharing.

jap21's picture

I tried to open the movie

Hi Victoria,

Like Maria, I tried to see the movie, but it would only go on for a few seconds. I watched the reel though, and got very impressed by it. I agree with what it says: The Soviet Union was founded upon a lot of lies. Comunists seem to have learned very well the art of make believe.

You are very brave, so is Natalia Morar. Tell me if you find there is any way we can help. I will be glad to.

God bless Natalia with the wisdom to get rid of her enemies. God bless you with the wisdom of maintaining your work without falling prisoner.

Lots of love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Victoria Vorosciuc's picture

to Maria and Jackie

Dear friends,
if you talk about the documentary Ca la Moldova from www.calamoldova.com, then I am very surprised, because me and my friends are able to watch it here. Of course it is not the best quality. But at least people can see the reality from another perspective. Please let me know if this problem continues. I will contact my partner. We hope though to find a way to make a release on dvd's... But no idea so far on who can sponsor us. We also look forward to participate in different festivals.
We were thinking that if it gets any awards, then the money would go to give a scholarship for youth in learning to be a journalist.

It is indeed that my country still lives upon lies, dictatorship and mass migration. I am afraid that it will be left to those who ruined the young potential and intelligent people. Cause what is left here, is either poor people who haven't had a way to go abroad, and to those who do not care about their future.

It is hard to find light in the dark tunnel.

Please let other people see this documentary, and I still believe, that giving up is not the solution. There must be a way...

But nobody has shown it to me...

With appreciation,
Me

Victoria Vorosciuc
Project Coordinator
"Empowering women to participate
in community life"
WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

Victoria Vorosciuc's picture

the "recount"

still the recount was not a good choice, because the Main Court of Justice, after Mr. Big's advice, pointed that the votes can be recounted, but the opposition or whoever recounts is not allowed to check it with the voters that were registered and the number of bulletins and check if the voters are indeed alive, dead, or out of the country.
The first two days before Mr. Big's decision they did manage to scan some documents and have gained quite big number of proofs. But next days they were forbidden to do so because Mr. Big said that one cannot get to investigate such things since every person has privacy. Bunch of Bologna (did I spell it right?).

Then Easter Came, and the results were not to come but after. And on Tuesday after "recount" they at least got to say that mister Big isn't getting the ONE MORE VOTE he lacked as already having the majority of 60 seats in the parliament.
The opposition will have 41 only.

People are more than dessperate... some of them post notes like: ADIO MOLDOVA http://2009.md/?mod=guerilla&action=show&id=74

Follow up another cry out of a young person that reflect many of us and many of those I interviewed for the documentary :

there is already more than 2kk population emigrated out of Moldova for working, because here in Moldova there is not work place and if it is the payment is very low, is enough only for a modest food. we are under communist govern for 8 years already. recent in 5 April was the new election.

people finally hoped in a liberal/democratic victory and a non-communist govern as consequence but happen a tragedy ... i have no idea how they got 51% of all votes because imediatly after this happen all who not voted for them started a big manifestation in the center of capital of Moldova, Chisinau.

the parliament in Moldova is composed by 101 mandates. President in Moldova is elected by parliament not by people and only if 61/101 mandates vote for him. right now Communists have exactly 61 mandates and liberals composed by other 3 parties who got mandates have 40. (Elections in parliament, Moldova 5 April 2009 / alegeri.md) there is less than 1% of votes not calculated yet. this votes are from outside of country where people not voting pro communists. this 1% decide 1-2 mandates. liberals need this mandates for not vote for communist president. this way, only if president not elected the election in parliament will restart.

and at second voting season communists will have no more founds to corrupt again the voting commission, and to favorite again thousands people like patients from hospitals, old population favored with buckwheat or sugar and promise +10$ to pension, people from village that watching only one TV Chanel - Tele Radio Moldova - Pro Communist, all ethnic groups - scaring them that if Communists lose election, they ethnic status gona be conquered by Romanian culture, religion, army - biggest ... even heard (in Moldova for more than 40 years people used to talk in them native between them ethnic and in Russian/Romanian in general between all, without any consciences, population in Moldova composed by: 70% Moldavians, 20% Russians, 10% Gagauzians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Jews, Germans, Belorussians, Roma and other nationality.
co-living together with all the results, form family, working, have fun, loving, arguing, everything... there is not difference betwen ethnicity, every culture is respected and such accusation have only politic pretext).

In Chisinau - capital of Moldova people already voted against Communist regime in 2007, at voting for mayoralty. but now at Parliament voting - are participating not only the towns but the rustic(rural) part of population as well. there population is misinformed and easy influenced by communist govern/administration, young people from village are in town for working, studying and have no permission to vote in town they have to return home for vote and be late at next day-Monday on study/work. Communist can favorite and corrupt a lot here in Moldova, because they have everything under them command for 8 years: police, government, court of law corrupt, loyal businessman afraid to lose their business, real property/strategic buildings/companies bought with force at improvised auctions and at minimal price.

i decided to fight for my liberty ! and i will go outside and protest ! if im not in game then im on the street fighting vs communist regime. they corrupted and subordinated everything in my country, exception our souls !

we are against a future communist president !
we fight for repeated election ! a fair one this time !
we fight for liberty in Moldova, second day we are on the streets !

If there are pro-communists in my country they will go on street to counter us... but there is not such side. all this is improvisation and fiction created by communist govern, that not wana lose what they posses now. they are afraid of young people studying, of people willing a normal future for them families and working for this. communist representatives are strangers in my country for now and will be asked/or forced to leave ! favoring patients in hospitals and oldvmen like my grandmother with cheep gifts before election for get them votes... i let this at your consideration how to characterize such methods.

Europe is still not cleaned of corruption and slavery.
Moldova need liberty ! Cry for fight !

Victoria Vorosciuc
Project Coordinator
"Empowering women to participate
in community life"
WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

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