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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moldovans Demand President's Resignation

CHISINAU, Moldova -- Hundreds marched through Moldova's capital for a second day Wednesday, demanding that the president resign and call early parliamentary elections because he initially sided with Russia in a territorial dispute.

Protesters blocked one of the main streets chanting "Down with [President Vladimir] Voronin" and "Early parliamentary elections!" They carried European Union, NATO, British and Moldovan flags.

The protests began Tuesday over a Russian peace proposal to resolve a dispute over the breakaway Transdnester region. Under the peace plan, some 2,000 Russian troops would remain in the disputed region as peacekeepers.

Voronin rejected the peace plan Tuesday, and his office issued a statement saying that "a document of such importance can be signed only if society accepts it" -- a reference to the opposition to the plan.

Western diplomats, however, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Voronin had decided not to sign the plan after he received telephone calls from several countries that belong to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- including the United States -- expressing reservations about the plan. The OSCE is a mediator in the conflict, together with Russia and Ukraine.

As protests continued Wednesday, police confiscated the sound system used in protests the day before. When demonstrators opposed the police actions, scuffles broke out. No serious injuries were reported.

The opposition party Our Moldova Alliance issued a statement Wednesday asking for the ruling party to clearly state its position regarding the Russian peace plan. The party also called for a special parliamentary session to examine the situation in the country.

In neighboring Romania, Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana said the Russian peace plan had taken NATO and OSCE countries by surprise. Without directly saying he supported the protests, Geoana said it was the "right of civil society to express itself."