People take to the streets to protest against pardon, criminal code amendment

People take to the streets to protest against pardon, criminal code amendment

President Iohannis temporarily joins the rally

About 15,000 people took to the streets in Bucharest on Sunday evening and another thousands in the Romanian big cities, to protest against the Government’s intention to amend the criminal codes and decriminalize the conflict of interests and to table a draft bill on amnesty and pardon. Some TV stations say there were 28,000 people protesting only in the Capital city. The meeting was organised on Facebook.

Photo credit: The Romania Journal

“1989-Hooligans; 2017-Nazis. How many generations are you still offending?” reads one of demonstrators’ banners. Photo credit: The Romania Journal

President Klaus Iohannis joined the protest in the Universitatii Square at some point, saying he has come to voice his indignation for “a gang of politicians” want to amend the legislation and weaken the rule of law. “I came here in Universitatii Square, like the thousands of Romanians, to show my indignation. A gang of politicians facing problems with the law want to amend the legislation, to weaken the rule of law, or this is out of the question. It’s inadmissible for the law to be amended and tens of politicians fallen foul of the law should get away with clean files and to continue the wrongdoings. Romanians are justly outraged,” President Iohannis stated.

Demonstrators chanted: “Romania asks no pardon”, “We give a ron for jail”, “Dragnea, don’t forget, we wait also for your book”, “Codruta, don’t forget, we are on your side”, “Grindeanu, you won’t last one year”, “In democracy, thieves are staying in prison”.

People marched from the Universitatii Square to the Government HQs in Victoriei Square, and then headed to the PSD main office on Kiseleff Boulevard, where the building was guarded by the gendarmes  and also to ALDE office. They chanted “DNA should come and take you away!” and “PSD, the red plague”, “We want justice, not corruption”.

Private TV stations Romania TV and Antena 3 TV, close to the ruling power, claimed the manifestations are a state coup attempt.

Reportedly PNL and USR leaders Raluca Turcan and Nicusor Dan joined the protests, as well as part of the former Ciolos cabinet ministers.

PMP Deputy Robert Turcescu allegedly called on PSD leader Liviu Dragnea to join the protest. “See you at the University Square, Dragnea, do you have the guts to come?” reads the message sent by Turcescu.

During the rally no incidents have been reported.

Other protests took place also in several cities throughout Romania. Some 1,000 people were reported to rally in Brasov, others in Timisoara (where Mayor Nicolae Robu joined the protesters) and Constanta. Some 5,000 were reported rallying in Cluj Napoca and in Sibiu some 2,000-3,000 people. Other people joined protests in Pitesti, Ploiesti, Galati, Iasi, Arad and other cities.

Last Wednesday, some 4,000 people protested in Bucharest and in the country – Cluj, Iasi, Sibiu and Timisoara –against the government drafts regarding pardoning some offences and amending the criminal code.

“The government tried on Wednesday to adopt the emergency ordinance amending the criminal legislation. Our event comes following the repeated statements and signals regarding the alleged amnesty of corruption offences or the changing of some laws without public consultations or without considering the viewpoint of some institutions,” the organisers said./IBNA