Major Laurentiu Cazan, the coordinator of gendarmerie in Victoriei Square last Friday, has explained on Thursday that the Israeli citizens travelling by taxi were beaten because the gendarmes were trying to catch the hooligans who were getting taxis to run out of Victoriei Square. He explained that the gendarmes were looking for those who burned furniture in the street.
“Those who were in that area, when we went to control that area, saw that some of them were using taxis to run. We decided to search the taxis to find those responsible,” said Cazan, who made the first public statement on Thursday about the gendarmes’ intervention last Friday.
Yet, the taxi driver who gave the Israeli tourists a ride in Bucharest that night recounted that gendarmes had just stopped the taxi and started beating them without any explanation. The driver has a cast in his arm for the upcoming 40 days.
“We left a hotel in Bucharest and we were heading to a club. The gendarmes stopped us at the crossroads of Ion Mihalache Blvd wit Banu Manta and started beating us. With no reason at all, we didn’t manage to react. The Israeli citizens had nothing to do with the protest. The gendarmes gave us no explanation. They just stopped us and beat us. The tourists were beaten very much in the car, with batons. Then, they dragged us out of the car, handcuffed us and they also beat us while being handcuffed. Then, I think they realized they were wrong and left us alone. They checked my car, they found absolutely nothing. The Israelis were crying that they were tourists. After the took the handcuffs off, we went to a hotel where we requested the ambulance and the Police,” said Ionut Radulescu, the 30-year-old taxi driver, as quoted by TVR.
Four Israeli citizens, who arrived by mistake in Victoriei Square during the rally against the Government last Friday, were taken out of their cab and were beaten by the gendarmes.
Regarding the incident in which four Israeli tourists were involved, the Israeli Embassy informed: Given the evidence we have so far, it seems the innocent Israeli tourists arrived very close to the site where the violent incidents took place Friday night, while travelling by taxi from their hotel to a restaurant in Bucharest. They were stopped, taken out of the car and, although they showed their foreign passports and explained they have nothing to do with the developing events, they were beaten by the gendarmes. We believe this incident is unacceptable and very serious. The Israeli tourists affected by the brutal intervention will file a criminal complaint against the aggressors.
452 people were injured overall (24 gendarmes) during the rally Friday night, with 70 of them being hospitalized.