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12 Apr, 2009 10:42

Moldovan protester dies of alleged police beating

A 23-year-old man who took part in mass protests in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, has died on Sunday. Parents claim he was beaten by the police after arrest, while officials say he may have died of gas poisoning.

Valery Bobok was arrested after the protests in Chisinau last week. His parents say marks on his body suggest he was severely beaten by the police and died because of that, the Interfax news agency reports.

Moldova’s Interior Ministry press service told the agency that the young man could have died because of gas poisoning. Gas was used against the protesters during the riots on Tuesday.

The riots in Chisinau started on Tuesday, April 7. Hundreds were injured when demonstrators stormed the parliament and president's office following victory by the country's ruling Communist party in parliamentary elections.

The opposition, which organized the protests, claims the national vote was rigged, although the Central Election Committee has confirmed the results, and international observers declared the elections were fair.

Moldova’s president Vladimir Voronin has called for a recount of last week's parliamentary election.

The official data is that around 270 people were injured during the unrest, 170 of them police officers. However, according to information in blogs, some people were killed, but it hasn’t been officially confirmed. More than 200 people were detained for taking part in the riots.

The country's president has asked the EU to investigate the cause of the violent riots during which the protesters stormed the parliament building, making it look like the aftermath of a war zone.

Moldova’s Central Election Commission has handed over the final results of the April 5 election to the country’s Constitutional Court. The Court is to consider the request to recount the results.

Meanwhile, a new rally is underway in Chisinau, held by three opposition parties. According to Interfax, several thousand people are taking part in it. Liberal-Democratic party leader Vlad Filat has said that they are protesting against human rights violations by the authorities which, as he claims, took place in the city as people were arrested during the rallies. Police are not hampering the gatherings for the moment.