Ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) has staged a wide electoral rally in Iasi, eastern Romania on Thursday, when Europe’s Day is celebrated and when the EU informal summit took place in Sibiu. All the Social Democrat party branches have been mobilized to bring supporters for the rally, with local media estimating that over 10,000 people gathered in Unirii Square in the city.
PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea has attended the meeting in Iasi, stating that „Romanians are not of two types-bad and good, as Basescu and Iohannis regimes wanted to accredit,” and accusing the previous rulers have urged to division.
„Patriotism is needed. Romania needs more than ever what it has lost during Basescu and Iohannis regimes. We need patriots and a homeland for our country forgot to be a country. This people has been urged to hatred and division. They made Romanians think they are of two types (…) There aren’t two types of Romanians, some good and others bad, as Iohannis claims. Nobody has the right to divide people in camps, to turn ones against the others,” Dragnea stated.
„They don’t understand that Romanians are all equal, are sovereign. You are all entitled to a common future. This is the first lesson I want us to give to Iohannis. Let’s tell him that nation means solidarity and not hate, means conscience and not illegally obtained houses. Let’s tell him that Romania means home and not foreign interests,” the PSD chair further told the crowd.
Dragnea admitted that the West “have helped us” over the years and “we are indebted to it”, yet arguing that this debt should not be paid in political obedience.
“It’s good to pay this debt in the right currency, in solidarity and respect, but I don’t want us to pay this debt with forced contracts and leases, in surrendered ports and natural resources, with political obedience and sovereignty handover,” Dragnea argued, again claiming there is “a sinister operation of political extermination” triggered by “an anti-PSD system”.
A Digi24 correspondent to Iasi, female journalist, Roxana Costaș, has announced on Facebook later on Thursday evening that she had been assaulted while she was reporting on the rally by the PSD supporters. She recounted that she was hit in the head with a banner while she was videoing participants at the PSD meeting on her phone. She posted the video on Facebook.
However, at some point during the SocDem leader’s speech, anti-PSD flyers were spread from a block near the square, and a banner reading “PSD,, the red plague” was displayed.
According to Ziarul de Iaşi, the capital of Moldavia has been a blocked city on Thursday, with large squads of gendarmes deployed from other counties as well, who set up protection fences throughout the city. Traffic has been restricted, while several public transportation routes have been diverted.
Anti-PSD protests staged on the streets simultaneously
At the same time, PSD’s opponents have also staged protests, booing and chanting slogans against Social Democrats and the government.
Protesters had banners with messages such as „PSD, the red plague”, “Thieves”,„Servants”, or „Out of Iasi”, arguing that, if PSD wanted to measure its strength in Iasi, it should count only on their local supporters, and not bring „thousands of people from other counties” in the region.
A local independent councilman from Bacau, Cristian Ghinghes posted on his Facebook page that tens of thousands of people from Bacau, including teachers and doctors, are taken by force or blackmailed to go to the PSD rally in Iasi.
Thousands of protesters interrupted Liviu Dragnea’s speech several times, shouting “In jail”, while the PSD leader retorted to them: “We are the greatest party in Romania and that’s why some jerks are walking around the scene. They are just a handful of people, well paid, it’s true”.
Iasi mayor posts photos of the trash PSD supporters left behind
Iasi mayor Mihai Chirica, former Social Democrat Party member, currently at war with the ruling party leadership, has posted photos on Facebook showing empty plastic bottles, flags and banners displaying PSD messages, thrown down in Unirii Square, the venue of the rally.
“That’s the way it is! All I’m saying! the embattled meeting organised by PSDragnea, has turned, as expected, into a rally of shame, of despair and lack of the horizon of those who remained in the boat that is slowly, but safely, sinking down. The inhabitants of Iasi have lived up to the expectations and I thank them for they have proved that, between democracy and abuse, democracy wins. Iasi will not be an attraction for PSDragnea (…),” Chirica wrote.