Several tens of thousands people (16,000 estimated) took to the streets in Bucharest and other cities in the country on Sunday evening, to protest again against the justice law amendments. Opposition leaders, as well as former technocrat PM Dacian Ciolos and ex-ministers of his cabinet joined the protests in Bucharest.
According to Digi 24, there were around 10,000 in Bucharest, 2,500 in Sibiu, 2,000 in Cluj-Napoca and over 1,000 in Timisoara. Anti-corruption rallies were also staged in Brasov, Bacau, Iasi, Galati, Constanta or Craiova.
Initially a commemoration march in King Michael’s memory was expected in Bucharest before the protest, with protesters intending to go up to the King’s Square on Kiseleff Boulevard to lay wreaths of flowers and to light candles. Participants said though that they got discouraged by the police forces deployed on the scene in Victoriei Square. So, eventually there was no march, but there was only a moment of silence.
“Most of the people who came for the march also came for the protest. So, with two events coinciding, people stood in one place and the decision was for the moment of silence. When the moment of silent was held, all turned their backs to the Government’s building. There were a lot of gendarmes. Considering the forces deployed here, people didn’t dare go away for the march,” said the organizers.
Under the slogan “#vavedem/weseyou”, protesters chanted against the ruling party and against corruption: “PSD, the red plague!”, “Justice, not corruption!,” “Resist, not give up!” “Thieves!”, “Resign!”, waving placards reading: “All for justice!”, ‘You won’t steal my future!”.
Moreover, some of the protesters displayed crosses reading: “Measles”, “Immunoglobuline, “Severe Burn”, “Lack of medication,” “Internship”, “Tuberculosis,” “Family Medicine,” in an attempt to warn over the disastrous situation of the healthcare system.
The opposition leaders, Liberal leader Ludovic Orban, the leader of the Save Romania Union Dan Barna, as well as former PM Dacian Ciolos and some of his ex-technocrat ministers Vlad Voiculescu, Raluca Pruna, Dragos Pislaru were seen attending the protest in Bucharest.
“We’ll do everything we consider it’s good for Romania. We’ll fight PSD on all fronts and we’ll ensure the liberties of the citizens and the justice independence. I appeal to all Romanians who care about Romania, who have the capacity to understand that the incumbent ruling is damaging for Romania, not to be resigned, to manifest, to voice their opinions,” said Ludovic Orban.
“We are solidary with the citizens’ messages. The message is for unity and solidarity with the civic organizations. The protest doesn’t belong to anyone, one cannot take it home with him. This protest embodies the revolt of the society against the seizure of the state and against the destruction of the institutions”, said in his turn USR chair Dan Barna.
“I take part in the protest for the justice laws are still mutilated in Parliament. We ask rulers to stop the way justice laws are amended, to withdraw them from Parliament, we ask the laws to be debated with the magistrates and to be amended after that,” said former premier Dacian Ciolos.
101-yo philosopher Mihai Sora also took to the streets, this time in Iasi. His message to the participants was “to be firm, to stand their ground! To keep protests strong until they win”. Sora attended previous protests and manifestations, the more recent being the one in Alba-Iulia, to celebrate Romania’s National Day.
ALDE, PMP slam the opposition’s attending protests
In retort, ALDE, the Social-Democrats’ ruling partners, but also People Movement Party (PMP), in opposition, have slammed the presence of PNL and USR in the street among protesters.
The executive chairman of PMP, Eugen Tomac, has argued on Monday that the protest rally in Victoriei Square on Sunday night was staged to enable “the irresolute Dacian Ciolos” get back on the political front line. Tomac also denounced that PMP’s representatives missed the protest because they were not invited to join it.
In his turn, ALDE chairman, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, stated that the protests in Victoriei Square “have obviously become very political at this point”, arguing the opposition parties are seeking to be associated with the street rallies in order to get extra credibility in their demands.