Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Bucharest and other cities to protest against the judicial overhaul proposed by the Social Democratic government
Entire sections of civil society are seething with anger. In stand-by for months, after staging mass protests last February against the now infamous government order no. 13 to amend the criminal codes, people are now regrouping to voice their discontent against the leftist government in Bucharest.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of people braved the cold to gather in front of the government and Parliament headquarters and protest against the judicial reforms proposed by the Social Democrats, reforms which, protesters say, will ensure protection to corrupt politicians whose only goal is to “save their skin”. Even representatives of the judicial system say the proposed amendments to the justice laws will have a profound effect on efforts to eradicate corruption. But let’s hear from the demonstrators themselves:
“If things continue in the direction in which they have been going for the last year, Romania will become an unpleasant place to live for the people trying to live a free and quality life. What I’m hoping these protests will achieve is making the population aware that things can easily slip into the wrong direction.”
“It’s too much having a single group deciding on behalf of a mass of people.”
Track 3: “For the last more than 300 days, something unacceptable has been happening almost every day.”
Protests were held on Sunday not only in Bucharest but also in other big cities across the country. The bone of contention, apart from the amendment to the justice laws, is the change of the tax code. People chanted anti-government slogans and demanded the resignations of the Speakers of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, respectively, who are also the leaders of the two ruling parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats.
The latter speaks of a witch-hunt, the involvement of the secret services in collecting evidence against politicians and the existence of a so-called “illegitimate parallel state” that is trying to decapitate the democratically elected government. Protesters, who see these claims as absurd, say they will continue to demonstrate.
Staged, via social networks, by around 40 groups and non-governmental organisations, these protests have also been supported for the first time starting last week by two big trade union confederations, Cartel Alfa and the National Trade Union Bloc.
In a joint press release, the latter denounce the “political mafia, theft, inefficiency, chaos and lack of transparency”.
The leaders of the ruling coalition are fighting the ghost of a parallel state, which they themselves invented. Protesters say it is in fact they who live in a parallel reality!