Excess of events in Great National Assembly Square: pros and cons

The public events staged in the Great National Assembly Square of Chisinau should take place only when events of national importance are celebrated. Such an opinion is shared by a number of municipal councilors and civic activists who were asked to pronounce in an opinion poll conducted by IPN. Others said the provisions of the Law on Assemblies are correct and no one’s right to demonstrate in the main square of the country should be limited.

Ruslan Codreanu, councilor of the electoral bloc “European People’s Platform of Moldova – Iurie Leanca”, said he is against holding any event in the central square of Chisinau. Not everything that is staged in central Chisinau creates a good image to the Republic of Moldova. “The inhabitants of Chisinau suffer the consequences, especially when the square is occupied during rush hours and on workdays. Foreign official delegations can come and they sing Russian chansons in the Great National Assembly Square. The national holidays can be celebrated in the central square, while other events should be staged elsewhere,” stated the councilor.

Unaffiliated Chisinau councilor Ion Stefanita also considers the central square of Chisinau should be used to celebrate only events of major importance for the Republic of Moldova. The other events can be held in public parks or other places. “I think more creativity and vision are needed in organizing events in Chisinau so that both the participants in the events and the residents of Chisinau feel comfortable,” stated Ion Stefanita.

Councilor of the party “Our Party” Ilian Casu said it is within the competence of the Chisinau Municipal Council to decide who and in what form can carry out activities in the central square of the capital city. A new strategy in this regard is needed as the center of the city does not have the infrastructure needed for holding large-scale events.

The leader of the Socialist group on the Chisinau Council Ion Ceban said it is everyone’s right to demonstrate in the center of the capital city as long as the law is obeyed. “Why should we obstruct someone? The problem resides in the quality of particular actions,” stated Ceban.

According to the leader of the Liberal group on the Council Ion Cebanu, the law does not envision restrictions and does not specify the events that cannot be authorized by the local public administration. “Consequently, no public events can be banned by the law,” he stated.

Civic activist Valeriu Pasa said the ambiguity of the relevant regulations has often been used by the municipality to limit someone’s right to stage events in the central square of Chisinau. “Let’s remember the electoral meeting of the Liberal Party owing to which a large-scale protest was sabotaged on June 6, 2015. There is also the recent protest staged in front of the Parliament Building. They announced the holding of the Recruit’s Day there, but this wasn’t even staged that day. The right to reserve the central square long beforehand is excessive and forms part of the set of tools used to hamper protests,” stated Valeriu Pasa.

Director of the Resource Center for Human Rights Sergiu Ostaf noted it is not normal to impose restrictions for a public area, including the Great National Assembly Square. “The imposition of restrictions for holding events in a public place runs counter to the realization of the right to assemble,” he said.

According to Vasile Pascaru, who is in charge of events and cultural-sports events at the Chisinau City Hall, the number of requests to stage public events in central Chisinau is on the rise and the central square is the most popular. “We recommend other places to the organizers, but our recommendations are regrettably ignored. Applications to hold events in central Chisinau are submitted almost daily. But many of them are not staged and the organizers should be fined for this,” said Vasile Pascaru. He noted that he often suggested amendments to the Law on Assemblies as the local administration should have the right to decide a place for the scheduled events.

Under the legislation, anyone can stage public events in the central square of Chisinau. Those who plan to organize an event must notify in written form the local public administration at least five days before the event. In Chisinau municipality, the public events in the Great National Assembly Square are held in accordance with the Law on Assemblies, the Law on the Local Public Administration, the Law on the Status of Chisinau Municipality and the ordinances of the Chisinau City Hall.

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