Tens of thousands Moldovans have gathered in the capital Chisinau to demand the resignation of the president and call for early elections.
The rare show of defiance is over a $1bn banking scandal, which has hurt the fragile economy.
Protesters are demanding President Nicolae Timofti stand down, an end to rampant corruption and the power of oligarch groups in the impoverished nation of 3.5 million.
The anger on the streets is palpable: “Even the return of the stolen money will not satisfy citizens. The authorities should be changed. The acting authorities should be dismissed and snap elections should be organised,”
said one protester.
While a woman on the march just wants a normal life:“We want to live in Europe and bring up our children in a normal way. We want the bandits and theives out and live in a civilised country.”
The money, around one eighth of of Moldova’s gross domestic product, vanished from the banking system in the scam and is now sitting in foreign banks.
The scandal has shaken the confidence of Western allies and international lenders.
The EU claims that successive pro-western governments have done little to stem corruption and financial mismanagement.