While people in the U.S. were twiddling their thumbs, Twittering about plans to see Fast and Furious or run to the grocery store yesterday, thousands of Moldovan youth were busy using the social messaging network to assemble a massive rally in response to Sunday's election results and the country's bust economy.
Protesters organized using Facebook and the Twitter tag #pman, which stands for Piata Marii Adunari Nationale, a large square in the capital city Chisinau, where the demonstrators gathered.
The protesters, some of whom pushed their way into government buildings, were reacting in part to the weekend's parliamentary elections, in which the Communist Party won half of the votes – enough to make changes to the constitution and select a president. The European Union recognized the election as legitimate, but some maintain that it was fixed. As the demonstration—and live Tweets—increased in fervor, Internet was cut off in the small eastern European country's capital Chisinau, and by this morning police there had reestablished control of the major offices, according to The New York Times.
Ukraine protests in 2004 and Belarus protests in 2006 were bulked up by cell phone messages, the Times notes, but texting seems to be giving way to social networking sites as the preferred method to distribute subversive communiqués. Moldova's current government—led by President Vladimir Voronin, who has been in office since 2001—however, shows no signs of ceding to the opposition.
The Times reports that in a televised speech Voronin said the rally "well designed, well thought out, coordinated, planned and paid for." Viva la Twitter, indeed.
Image of Moldovan flags courtesy of Aurelian Sandulescu via Flickr