Nearly 7,000 protest against government in Moldova's capital

CHISINAU, Moldova - About 7,000 people held an anti-government protest Thursday in the Moldovan capital, a day after demonstrators stormed the legislature after it approved a new pro-European government.

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Protesters gathered outside government offices and Parliament in Chisinau to protest Prime Minister Pavel Filip, the former technology minister and former candy factory manager, who presented his Cabinet of politicians and specialists to President Nicolae Timofti late Wednesday.

Scuffles broke out Wednesday between police and the protesters who stormed the Parliament and 15 people were injured, including nine police officers.

On Thursday, protesters blocked a main artery in the capital as they staged a peaceful protest. Demonstrators shouted "Down with the government! We are the people!" and "Early elections!"

The vote by Parliament on Wednesday ended a three-month standoff between Timofti and Parliament, which the president would have dissolved had it not approved a new government by Jan. 29. The previous government was dismissed in late October over corruption allegations.

Some demonstrators who support opposition political parties want closer links to Russia. Others are demanding a crackdown on corruption and a thorough investigation into the $1.5 billion went missing from three banks prior to the November 2014 parliamentary election.

Mouldova has been mired in political instability since 2014. Last year, Moldova had five prime ministers and there were weeks of protests about the missing money.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday urged Moldova's government to undertake reforms.

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Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this report.



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