Why Are 300,000 Romanians Protesting Against Their Government?
7 February, 2017

What You Need To Know:

✅ Social unrest due to lies from the Romanian Government, the general public will not listen to them anymore, the government was claiming the jails were far too overcrowded and a new decree was to replace the old was passed, but the new decree pardoned criminals that were not in jail;
✅ Protests are happening all over Romania
 300,000 people were protesting in front of the government building;
✅ The people need new
figure heads, new ministers which are more credible because the present ministers just make a fool of themselves.  

Hromadske International Christian Borys and Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Sorin Ionita In Kyiv on November, 5th, 2017 via Skype. 

Christian Borys: Could you explain what caused this many people to come out to protest in Bucharest. 

Sorin Ionita: Well there is a moving target, as things started moving two weeks ago when the Government tried to pass an emergency procedure, well they passed 2 pieces of legislation as executive decrees of the government and to cut the details short it’s about the collective pardon for many people that are supposed to be freed from jail, and the second would be to amend the criminal code and eliminate some investigative instruments that have been effective over the years by the National Corruption Directorate (DNA)

Nataliya Gumenyuk: What are the issues at this moment and why are so many people still out in protest if they no longer have this decree?

Sorin Ionita: You are right, the government announced it a week ago but one of these decrees was transformed into law and passed through parliament, and today they repeal the other emergency decree so basically the basic problem was solved, it was too little too late. So now we have the credibility of this government that did not listen two months ago and has over 60% in the government, the general public will not listen to them anymore because they lied so much during the last two weeks about the reason why they do this claiming the jails were far too over crowded, ok some are overcrowded but because they have lied so much with everyone knowing that the act would benefit the leader of the Socialist Party he has conviction of suspension but actually they pardon people with conviction with suspension now people with suspension are not in jail, so if you pardon those people, you do not free any from jail so it will still be overcrowded and so obvious it was passed for the benefit of politicians. 

Right now it is the biggest protest in Bucharest since the fall of communism in 1989, there are 300,000 people out in front of the government building, and of course they are demanding the resignation of the government or at least the Minister of Justice who provoked this mess. 

Christian Borys: So Sorin, what other demands do they have if those demands are not met, and if those are not met what could happen?

Sorin Ionita: Well it is very hard to answer as this is very new, until yesterday the government was very determined to carry on their path and stated they will never repeal the law. They announced it yesterday evening and the following day (Sunday) convened on an emergency cabinet meeting and repealed the decree, you repeal a decree by announcing another decree, apparently that one is poorly written and if it fails in parliament the first decree will be reinstated, this is such a mess which shows they are poor technicians in terms of the legal process. Because of this the people need heads, they need resignations, at this step no one is disputing the rights of The Socialist party to be in government because they did win, in December they won and they now have 60% sitting in parliament and that is democracy and we have to put up with this. But people need new figure heads, new ministers which are more credible because these ministers just make a fool of themselves.

Nataliya Gumenyuk: So Sorin, there seems to be dynamics to the protest where the government are a few steps behind and they fulfil one demand only, and the people want even more. So what will the general population accept and be satisfied and are there other politicians that could fill the place of the place of the ex-ministers and maybe cause another election and it is incomparable to any protest we have seen over the last decade.

Sorin Ionita: There is a frustration in society and people are feeling humiliated because they were lied to for weeks, basically they were provided fake news on what was happening by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Justice and the people in the cities will not put up with this. The government was one step behind and they did little too late including today. If they had carried out what they promised two weeks ago then it would have been fine, everyone would have listened to all the technical arguments about law. Today not anymore, today they need to resign, The socialists are a big party, they are the biggest party in Romania and there are already factions within the party, there are a group of hard liners who want to push forward because they are being investigated and also have a criminal record wanting everything to be cancelled, but on the other hand we can see there are members who want to move forward and they want a future in politics even in European politics and they don’t want to go on like this, so at any time there can be an alternative cabinet of ministers, there is tension within the socialist party, even have mayors in big cities who say we cannot go on like this. We have parents with kids protesting against us and you can do nothing against them.

At this stage we have to do something else something different. Right across Romania we have half a million protesters protesting for the principle of law. Its not about salaries, it’s the other way around.

The first thing this government did was to raise the pensions, raise the minimum salary by 16% and doubled the allowance for students, so they tried to buy social peace because they had this thing in mind, the pardon and the castration of the anti-corruption prosecutors. This was never discussed during the electoral campaign, they had a very good plan with points 1, 2, 3, 4, they discussed it for six months before the campaign, it was all about jobs, tax cuts and increased social spending, so people feel they were taken for fools.