President Iohannis on Thursday reacted to the protests and latest Gov’t decisions last night. In a press conference held at Cotroceni Palace, the head of state said he was impressed with the amplitude of the protests, yet voicing concern that the peaceful rally in Bucharest has been hijacked by violent protesters. Iohannis accused the interior Minister that she had been previously informed about the risks of the protests being disturbed by violent groups. But above all, the President sent a message to the Government and ruling party: “Hands off DNA”.
“Last night massive protests occurred countrywide. I am very impressed by the amplitude of these demonstrations and by the fact that Romanians understood very well what is all about with these ordinances amending the Criminal Code, while expressing very clearly what they want: a rule of law. These rallies were peaceful. Romanians have gathered in large numbers and have peacefully spoken a piece,” President Iohannis told a press statement at Cotroceni presidential palace.
“But that until after 10 p.m., when a group or groups of violent protesters entered Victoriei Square and hijacked the rally.
It was obvious for anyone that Romanians have peacefully protested (…) The way the Interior ministry managed the situation and the way gendarmes reacted to instigators is deeply displeasing me. Everybody from the force bodies had all necessary information. The Interior Ministry knew exactly when, where and which groups make preparations to break the protest.
Instead of isolating them, they let them loose to cut in among peaceful demonstrators, jeopardizing not only the rally, but also the health and even the life of simple Romanians that took to the streets for a peaceful rally,” the President continued.
Iohannis accused Interior minister Carmen Dan that she had lied when saying she did not know about the warning.
“I found extremely serious that Mrs. Interior Minister said she did know anything. It’s the more serious as it means she is not actually the one who runs the ministry, but she is just staying at the ministry. It’s inadmissible.
I ask the Interior Ministry and Gendarmerie for written clarifications. Why and how was possible that violent elements were allowed to ruin a peaceful rally with all the Interior Ministry on the spot?,” the head of state argued.
Asked who was behind the hijack, Klaus Iohannis says that he has no clear proves: “This matter will have to be cleared up by others. There are voices saying there were some people instigating and contributuing to the violences. I don’t have clear proves yet and I think that the Interior Ministry has to bring evidence and I am waiting for them to do their job“.
President to notify Constitutional Court
Related to the emergency ordinance issue, the President announced that he has decided to notify the Constitutional Court on that matter. “It’s obviously a judicial conflict of constitutional origin between the Government and the judiciary system and the Parliament. The document (e.n. the notification) is on the road and will be filed to the CCR,” Iohannis informed.
Hands off DNA
Asked about the potential merger between DNA (National Anti-corruption Directoate) and DIICOT (anti-organized crime directorate) as rumored in the media, the Romanian President said that the Gov’t has repulsed. “However, the government has repulsed others…I clearly tell rulers: Hands off DNA.”
Related to a potential PSD’s counter-rally, Iohannis said it would be “a big mistake” which would lead to violences, underlining that the solution to this crisis is to repeal the ordinance.
Questioned if he has information that the current situation might be part of a conflict meant to destabilize Romania, the head of state doubted that. “I don’t think so, but there are definitely a lot of Romania’s enemies that enjoy that we came to this deep crisis situation due to the foolishness of some leaders.”
The President also stated that PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea is responsible for the Government’s decisions. “The same Dragnea ‘from cover to cover’? He is responsible. He told us all also in the campaign and after the campaign that he is the iron man leading the party and all that is happening there is under his direct coordination (…),” he said when asked how is Dragnea responsible for the Executive’s actions.
Interior minister replies on ultras supporters
In retort, Interior Minister Carmen Dan reiterated her previous statement from Wednesday night, saying she hasn’t personally received any information from the Romanian Intelligence Service on the ultras footabll supporters’ coming to the rally in Victoriei Square. She admitted though that SRI do informed a secretary of state in the ministry and the Police head, but said there were information delivered “by SMS” which did not signal any risks for violences and which were already “publicly notorious”.