Mass protests in Romania: Stop corruption!

Up to 100,000 people have taken to the streets in Romania to support the independence of justice — against the ruling Social Democrats. Some marched 450 kilometers in protest, according to BrinkWire.com.

In the past, only stars like AC/DC and Andre Rieu have managed to fill the huge Piata Constitutiei square in Bucharest with tens of thousands of people. At the mass protests on Saturday, not only was the square full but so was the gigantic boulevard leading to the “Palace of the People,” the parliament building.

The boulevard was built during the dictatorship to make Romanians feel small and humble in front of their omnipotent leaders. It takes many Romanians to defy this feeling in front of former authoritarian leader Nicolae Ceausescu’s monstrous “palace” — and more than 60,000 rallied to do so.

There were also protests in other towns as up to 100,000 participants gathered nationwide, united by their dissatisfaction with the way their country is being governed.

Walking to Bucharest

Ten protesters had made headlines for 11 days in a row before the mass protests: They walked to Bucharest from their hometown of Cluj in Transylvania.

On the evening before the protests, Sorin Bobis, who initiated this march to Bucharest in the cold winter weather, told DW: “If there are people who can walk for 450 kilometers (278 km) from Cluj to make their voice heard in Bucharest when they say they are dissatisfied with the government, there will surely be a few thousand inhabitants of Bucharest willing to leave their homes on a weekend and take part in the protest.”

Rumänien Proteste in Bukarest (DW/C. Stefanescu)

When Bobis reached Bucharest on Saturday, even more people joined him — including two blind men who had also walked from a smaller city in Transylvania to join the protest, which had been planned in December. Back then, the parliament adopted changes to the justice laws that critics believed challenged the independence and efficiency of the judiciary in Romania.

 

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