The Prosecutor’s Office continues investigations into the violent street protests of August 10
Prosecutors announced on Thursday that they identified and detained two of the hooligans who assaulted the riot police during the anti-government protest staged in Bucharest on August 10. Organised by associations of Romanians living abroad and marked by violent clashes between some of the participants and the gendarmes, the protest was eventually suppressed by the gendarmes’ forceful intervention. Hundreds of people, both protesters and police officers, were injured, and over a hundred thousand protesters, including women and children, were exposed to tear gas.
According to a press release of the prosecutor’s office attached to the District 1 Tribunal, which is currently investigating criminal allegations of physical and psychological violence against the riot police, on Friday two men were detained for 30 days for assault and disorderly conduct. One of them is accused of having kicked a gendarme, while the other purportedly assaulted another member of the riot police using a piece of metal. Shortly after the protest, prosecutors also managed to identify another man who had stolen a gun off a female gendarme caught at the time in the middle of a melee.
The Social-Democrat Interior Minister Carmen Dan two weeks ago claimed that prosecutors are not taking statements from the people who actually committed the acts of violence, although the Police have identified dozens of aggressors and all the evidence has been submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office.
On the other hand, the peaceful protesters who fell victim to the brutal intervention of the gendarmes are voicing similar accusations against the left-of-centre ruling coalition. They fear the latter is trying to thwart the investigation conducted by the Military Prosecutor’s Office. In September, 4 high-ranking leaders of the Romanian Gendarmerie were officially indicted for accessory to abuse of office and abusive conduct. The victims however want to know the identity of the people who hit them with truncheons, trampled them and sprayed tear gas in their faces.
Last week, the violent protest of August 10 and the latest developments in Romania concerning the justice system and the rule of law were debated in the European Parliament, after the Romanian Parliament had made its own analysis of the events. The Chamber of Deputies debated a simple motion filed by the National Liberal Party in Opposition, in which they accused Minister Carmen Dan of having coordinated the violent repression of the protest. Addressing Parliament, Minister Dan expressed confidence that the gendarmes’ intervention was legitimate, giving assurances that those responsible for the acts of violence will be held accountable. And this is exactly what civil society and local media have been vehemently asking for.