Romania Protests Against Corrupt Government

For three days in a row, Romanian protesters took the streets in Bucharest to fight against the corrupt government and demand new elections

BUCHAREST – What first started as a peaceful demonstration on Friday in Victoriei Square ended in perhaps one of the most violent clashes between police and groups of aggressive protesters, most of which were hooligans from football galleries.

The protest aimed to bring Romanian abroad together with those in the country to state their dissatisfaction with the current government and policies. Many Romanian traveled from far away destinations to join the rally.

Protesters started gathering in the square on Friday morning and for the most part of it, the atmosphere was peaceful. However, things changed after 4 p.m. as violent incidents started to occur because of a handful of protesters who tried to pass the riot police and get into the Government’s yard. The police intervened with tear gas against hundreds of people in the square, some of which were pregnant women and children.

After these incidents, the crowd started growing. Minor incidents still took place in some parts of the square, but most of the crowd was peaceful. At 9 p.m., protesters lit up their smartphones – a trademark of anti-government. At this very moment, 100,000 people were believed to be present.

Soon enough, more violent incidents started to take place: bottles were thrown, pieces of pavement and even pouches with urine at the gendarmes. The police reacted by throwing tear gas, smoke grenades and even brought a water cannon.

Unfortunately, hundreds of peaceful protesters were hurt during the interventions of the gendarmes and needed medical care.

These events had a wide echo in social media and reflected in international media. Images of innocent people being beaten for apparently no reason also spread widely.

The only response so far: President Klaus Iohannis condemned the incidents in a Facebook post and asked minister Carmen Dan for explanations.