Moldovan President Igor Dodon has expressed his outrage against the authorities and police of the capital city of Chișinău, condemning them for preventing a protest against an LGBT march on Saturday, ensuring the pride procession was able to make its way along its entire 3 km course.
In his view, “the behavior of the police, who took measures against those who wanted to prevent the march, is unacceptable.”
Protestors successfully blocked and disbanded the march the past two years, but police were out in force this year, providing unprecedented security measures. Thousands of officers in riot gear surrounded the marchers on all sides and the main streets of the city were blocked off, according to Interfax-Religion.
The capital city’s squad even went so far as to deploy tear gas against the heavily-Orthodox group of protestors at one point, several outlets add, including Radio Free Europe.
“I strongly condemn the actions of the authorities and the police that ensured the march. These are values that are alien to us, which I do not accept. I stand for traditional family values and observance of Orthodox traditions,” Dodon said at a press conference on Tuesday.
It’s no surprise that a march glorifying non-traditional sexuality would draw the ire of the Moldovan faithful, maligned as “religious hard-liners” in the liberal media.
98% of the Moldovan population belongs to the Orthodox Church, which unequivocally teaches that sexuality belongs within, and only within the confines of a sacramental marriage between one and one woman.
Metropolitan Vladimir of Chișinău, the head of the Orthodox Church in Moldova, had called upon the city government to ban the LGBT march over a week before it was to be held, saying, “This minority parade launches an offensive challenge at the societal values of the majority of our society, which is made up of 98% Orthodox Christians—the preservers of the teachings of the holy Gospel, according to which marriage is only between a man and a woman—not between people of the same sex.”
Homosexuality between consenting adults in private has been legal since 1995, though the Moldovan constitution bans gay marriage.
President Dodon often speaks openly of the Orthodox faith, its traditional values, and its centrality for Moldovan society and its future. “I believe that without the Orthodox faith, without our traditions, Moldova has no future,” he told Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church during a visit to Moscow in March of last year.
“Moldova absolutely needs to preserve and strengthen our Orthodox Church. Indeed, we are now going through a very difficult period, but I am sure that with faith we will get through it all,” the head of state added.
“In our country, 98% of the population is Orthodox, hence society’s painful reaction to these marches and the imposition of these ideas. Our society does not accept them. This must be kept in mind,” the president emphasized.
While he is not against developing relations with the West, the president noted in response to this year’s march, he also believes “they should not so persistently impose alien values upon us.” More than twenty Western embassies in Moldova, including those of the US and several EU member states, had released statements in support of this year’s march.
President Dodon has also voiced his support for and participated in an alternative march in support of traditional family values, held on May 12 this year, a week before the LGBT march.
The weekend’s events and the president’s comments come against the backdrop of the quickly-approaching World Congress of Families event scheduled to be held in Chișinău in September. The World Congress of Families is an international union of defenders of traditional values, the natural family and the right to life. It brings together hundreds of organizations and thousands of activists from every continent.
According to the Moldovan president, the Congress is expected to be a major event, with emphases on traditional values, the family as the main pillar of society, the difficulties faced by the modern family in various countries, as well as the solutions to be developed in this regard.