Friday, December 14, 2007

The Christmas Tree Saga Part 4 (final chapter?)

Last night we attended a "Town Hall Meeting" for Americans at the U.S. Ambassador's residence. I asked the Ambassador what his office was doing to foster better relations between the Chisinau Mayor's office and the national government. He joked a little about the Christmas tree controversy, but stated that he was doing what he could to convince both sides that cooperation with the opposition was essential to good governance.
He also gave some background into why both sides dislike each other, and says this is mainly a problem in the big cities like Chisinau, and not in the countryside.

On Wednesday a group of 50-100 protestors, mainly youth but including the Mayor and other officials, took to the National Square.
"Many of them brought artificial fur trees, which were put within the fenced place, designed for the chief New Year tree of the country. Then during several minutes the young people were standing silently and holding pictures of the European capital cities, where the New Year trees had been already installed. After this they left the square peacefully. The protesters placed a symbolic small fir tree in the place where the Christmas tree once stood with baubles conveying such messages as “Right to Personal Freedom”, “Right to Security”, “Right to Free Expression”, “Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion” etc."

News link 1. News link 2.

Apparently, the controversy contributed to quite an ugly day in the Moldovan Parliament. As we returned from the Town Hall meeting last night, we passed by the original fir tree (which was moved off the Square) and saw it still being guarded by several policemen.

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