MOLDOVA: Children protest outcome of presidential election

In Moldova protests were held after the election of a "pro-Russian" president on 14 November. On the day after the election, more than a thousand people, most of whom were young people, gathered at the Great National Assembly Square demanding the result be overturned, and calling for a new vote. The protests lasted less than five hours, and no incidents were registered.

However, the Moldovan press reacted to the participation of students extremely negatively, labelling children the "victims of revolutions, doing what they were told to". Igor Dodon who won 52 percent of the vote in the election urged his opponents "to not put people, including children, in the streets and not to play with fire". Losing candidate Maia Sandu said that "citizens have the right to express their position on how the authorities organised the voting process."

Freedom of expression for children is rarely talked about, but it is an important indicator of the degree to which children are treated as rights holders, as the inclusion of Article 13 on freedom of expression in the Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasises that civil and political rights apply equally to children as to other human beings.

It is important to note that the responsibility for the safety of children involved in the protests lies on both sides: the protesters and the government. The presence of children in demonstrations and rallies shows that children are a part of the driving force of society that wants to have their voices heard.

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