New protests, day 3. Demonstrators eye major political shift

New protests were in Bucharest and across the country on Thursday night, for the third night in a row, after the street uprising prompted by the tragedy occurred in Colectiv nightclub last week led to the Ponta Gov’t resignation. The demonstrators’ mobilization was again called on Facebook, with protesters asking now for the entire political class’ shift.

Over 10,000 people gathered in Universitate Square, many youngsters, but also employees, families with babies and oldesters, former revolutionaries included. They drafted a list of claims, but the list with some representatives, as President Iohannis had asked for when inviting them to consultations on Friday, was missing. People were shouting: “The street has no leader.”

People were flying tricolor flags, whistling and bearing placards with moving messages: “We want a future in our own country”, “Mom, dad, I’m taking my country back”, “Colectiv!”, “Solidarity”, etc.

By far the most impressive message was the one borne by an older man: “Dear parents, our children are showing us the right way, support them and join them as they deserve it.”
The same guy was present in the middle of the protesters on Wednesday as well, displaying the following message: “Our dear children, forgive us. We have been mistaken for the past 26 years. Only you can fight corruption. We are proud of you. Mom and Dad”. The message also went viral on Facebook.
Other several thousands persons took to the streets in other citis, just like int he previous two nights.

About 30,000 people gathered downtown Bucharest on Wednesday evening to protest against corruption and against the current political class. Hotnews.ro reported there were more than 35,000 people protesting. Most of the demonstrants came to the University Square, while other few thousands marched to the Parliament Palace, scaling the fences surrounding the Parliament building and asking for the Parliament’s quit and for the reform of the system.

Similar protest actions were held in other cities as well, with estimates pointing to more than 70,000 people taking to the streets overall in the entire country.

Tuesdays’ protest mobilized 25,000 and led to the Government’s stepping aside (including PM Ponta’s resignation) and to the resignation of the District 4 mayor, Cristian Popescu Piedone.

If protesters were asking for resignations on Tuesday, they marched against endemic corruption on Wednesday while asking for justice and contesting all political parties.

The “Colectiv” Party

Following protests, the idea of a new party took shape among protesters, a party made of “young, fair person” who should be named “Colectiv” in the memory of the youngsters who died in the fire burst at the Colectiv nightclub last Friday.

“We need to get involved, to set up a party, without corrupt and bribable persons, without those who belonged to other parties in the past, without Securitate officers or political scientists, only with new, young and correct people! This is what we must do, to organize ourselves! Protests are very valuable! And we must go on with them, to be the democracy’s guardians! But we must get involved, get together, we need unity and SOLIDARITY! We must set up groups, to be represented, the voice of the street should echo at all levels, at all structures! Cătălin Albu wrote on his Facebook page. He is the one who initiated the call for the past days’ protests.

The demands of the street of the NGOs

As a first, the Romanian president announced in the press conference earlier in the day that he would also involve the civil society and the demonstrators’ representatives and invite them to attend the consultations on setting up a new government.

As a response to Iohannis’ announcement, people started to mobilize on Facebook, initiating polls on who should represent them to the Cotroceni consultations. Among the rumored names, actor and singer Tudor Chirilă, journalist Moise Guran and singer Adrian Despot got most of the likes.

“Anyone who will go to these consultations should consider the demands of the majority having protesting last night or two nights ago. What do you want the civil society representative to tell the President?” Octavian Datcu, a student with the Philosophy faculty in Bucharest asked. Among asnwers, the ones gathering the most votes are: “Respecting the referendum and cutting the number of MPs to 300”, “Laws that should ban persons facing criminal charges to run for the Parliament” and “Parliamentary immunity removal”.

Later on, five NGOs -ExpertForum (EFOR), Romanian Center for the European Policies (CRPE), Group for the Social Dialogue (GDS),  Romanian Association for Culture, Education and Normality (ARCEN) and Pro Infrastructure Association- sent the Romanian president a letter with several claims, among which: designation of a credible premier, the strengthening of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), recall of the current Ombudsman (Victor Ciorbea), dissolution of the parliamentary committees which control the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), as well as the come-back to the mayors’ elections in two rounds and to the county leaders’ elections through direct vote.

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