2015 Romanian protests

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2015 Romanian protests
"Corruption Kills" (22909992136).jpg
Demonstrations at University Square, Bucharest
Date 3 – 9 November 2015
Location Romania Many cities in Romania, including Bucharest, Constanta, Timișoara, Craiova, Iași, Cluj-Napoca, Galați, Sibiu, Brașov, Oradea, Suceava, Focșani
United Kingdom London
France Paris
Spain Madrid
Italy Turin
Germany Berlin
United States New York City
Goals
Methods
Status Done
Concessions
given
Lead figures
none
Number
Up to 100,000 participants throughout Romania

The 2015 Romanian protests began on 3 November, when more than 15,000 people protested in front of Victoria Palace—the headquarters of the Romanian government—blocking traffic in Victory Square.

The protests were sparked by the Colectiv nightclub fire, and were dubbed in the Romanian press as the #Colectiv Revolution.[1][2] The protesters demanded the resignations of Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Minister Gabriel Oprea, who they claimed fostered corruption which led to the disaster. They also called for the resignation of Cristian Popescu Piedone,[3][4] the Mayor of Sector 4, who was criticized for giving an operating license to the club without a permit from the fire department.[5]

Protests[edit]

3 November[edit]

On 3 November 2015, in front of the government building, large cordons of gendarmes prevented demonstrators from advancing toward the building.[6] From Victory Square, protesters marched to the Interior Ministry, where they knelt and held a moment of silence.[7] The protesters chanted "shame on you" and "assassins", and carried banners reading "corruption kills". By 10 p.m. local time, between 28,000 and 30,000 people[8] (some estimates had more than 35,000) reached Constitution Square, with some protesters scaling the fences surrounding the Palace of the Parliament. Protests were also held in Brașov, Ploiești, and Iași. President Klaus Iohannis welcomed the street demonstrations, and cautioned that such events cannot be ignored by the political class.[9]

Protesters also criticized the Romanian Orthodox Church and its leader, Patriarch Daniel, for their apparent lack of reaction in the aftermath of the club fire. Thousands of demonstrators marched on Dealul Mitropoliei in central Bucharest, where the seat of the Church is located.[10]

4 November[edit]

On the morning of 4 November, the Ponta government resigned,[11][12][13] but with Ponta himself remaining as acting prime minister until the formation of a new government.[14] "I hope the government's resignation will satisfy the people who came out in the streets", Ponta said in a statement.[15] Pressure had been mounting on Ponta for the previous month. In October 2015, he lost the Social Democratic Party leadership to Liviu Dragnea amid a tax fraud scandal, and became the country's first sitting premier to stand trial for corruption.[16] One hour after the announcement of the government's resignation, Piedone also announced his resignation.[17] He accepted his role in the tragedy, and expressed regret for his actions and inaction, stating: "It is a mistake and I undertake that I did not proceed to the resignation from the first day or second day after the accident".[18]

On 4 November, protests continued for a second consecutive night despite Ponta's resignation, with about 35,000 people in Bucharest,[19][20] 10,000 in Timișoara, 5,000 in Craiova and Iași, 4,500 in Cluj-Napoca,[21] 4,000 in Sibiu, 3,000 in Bacău, Constanța, Galați and Suceava, 1,000 in Oradea[22] and Focșani.[23] Demonstrators demanded early elections[24] and a total change of the political class.[25] Protests in solidarity with those in Romania took place in London and Paris.[26]

People protesting in University Square, Bucharest, on 5 November

Following days[edit]

On 5 November, around 12,000 people protested in Bucharest and 10,000 in other big cities. For the first time the president invited representatives from street people to a round of consultations to hear their demands. After the Presidential Administration centralized 5,520 proposals, 20 people, mostly members of NGOs, were chosen to take part in consultations with Klaus Iohannis.[27]

The next day, on 6 November, people kept protesting, although in fewer numbers (6,000 in Bucharest and several thousands in other cities). The president told the civil representatives that he will come incognito to talk to people in the streets, indirectly hinting that if they want true change they need to keep asking for it so the politicians can't pretend they don't understand what is asked of them.

On 8 November, in the seventh day of protests, Klaus Iohannis went to University Square,[28] where he talked with some protesters and listened to their demands. While many expressed gladness at president's presence in the square, others booed, whistled and chanted "Shame on you", "Resignation", "Thieves" and "We don't want you".[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marian Sultănoiu (4 November 2015). "Revoluţia #Colectiv a desfiinţat Victoria lui Ponta". Gândul.
  2. ^ Ioana Tomescu, Silviu Sergiu (4 November 2015). "REVOLUȚIA COLECTIV. Ce urmează după demisia lui Ponta". Evenimentul Zilei.
  3. ^ "Aproximativ 13.000 de oameni au blocat Piaţa Victoriei. Se strigă: "Victor Ponta şi ai lui, asasinii neamului"!". Adevărul. 3 November 2015.
  4. ^ Andrei Luca Popescu (3 November 2015). "Protest #Colectiv în Bucureşti: 25.000 de oameni, în marş prin centrul Capitalei, cerând demisiile lui Ponta, Oprea şi Piedone. Manifestanţii merg spre Clubul Colectiv". Gândul.
  5. ^ "Primarul Piedone, acuzat că nu trebuia să dea autorizaţie clubului Colectiv pe baza declaraţiei pe proprie răspundere". Ştirile TVR. 2 November 2015.
  6. ^ "TRAGEDIA din clubul Colectiv: Peste 10.000 de manifestanţi în Piaţa Victoriei. Ei strigă: "Demisia!"". Mediafax. 3 November 2015.
  7. ^ Andra Timu, Irina Vilcu (3 November 2015). "Thousands Protest Against Romanian Premier After 32 Die in Fire". Bloomberg.
  8. ^ "Protest în Capitală, după tragedia COLECTIV.32.000 de oameni cer DEMISIA lui Ponta, Oprea şi Piedone". Realitatea.net. 3 November 2015.
  9. ^ "CORUPTIA UCIDE: "Nu aveti coloana, decat oficiala". 25.000 de oameni sunt in strada. Mesajul lui Klaus Iohannis". Stirile Pro TV. 3 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Tragedia din Colectiv. Peste 25.000 de persoane, în stradă. Au cerut demisia lui Piedone, Oprea şi Ponta" [The collective tragedy. More than 25,000 people in the street. They demanded the resignation of Piedone, Oprea, and Ponta] (in Romanian). Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  11. ^ Radu-Sorin Marinas, Luiza Ilie (4 November 2015). "Romanian PM Ponta quits after protests, paves way for cabinet reshuffle". Reuters.
  12. ^ Mark Tran (4 November 2015). "Bucharest nightclub fire: Romania's PM and government resign after protests". The Guardian.
  13. ^ Alexandra Sims (4 November 2015). "Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta resigns the day after mass protests over nightclub fire". The Independent.
  14. ^ "VICTOR PONTA A DEMISIONAT". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Romania PM Ponta resigns over Bucharest nightclub fire". BBC News. 4 November 2015.
  16. ^ Sarah Joanne Taylor (4 November 2015). "Romania: PM Victor Ponta resigns". Euronews.
  17. ^ "Primarul Cristian Popescu Piedone demisionează şi el - surse". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Cristian Popescu Piedone a demisionat: "E un act. Onoarea trebuia să fie în prima zi"". Digi24. 4 November 2015.
  19. ^ "70.000 de români au ieşit în stradă. Oamenii au strigat: "Nu mă cumperi cu două demisii!"". Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  20. ^ "CORUPTIA UCIDE: Peste 35.000 de oameni au ocupat strazile Capitalei. Proteste de amploare au avut loc in toata tara". Stirile Pro TV. 4 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Proteste masive în România. 70.000 de oameni, în stradă: "Nu doar Guvernul, jos tot Sistemul"". Realitatea.net. 4 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Oradea în stradă. Peste 1.000 de oameni scandează "Am sta în casă, dar morţii nu ne lasă"!". Adevărul. 4 November 2015.
  23. ^ Vlad Epurescu (5 November 2015). "Ce nu s-a văzut la televizor în timpul protestelor din Bucureşti: cum s-a încercat deturnarea manifestaţiei către un miting anti-Iohannis". Adevărul.
  24. ^ "Romania: Protests despite Victor Ponta's resignation". BBC News. 5 November 2015.
  25. ^ Clarice Dinu (5 November 2015). "Zeci de mii de români cer în stradă SCHIMBAREA TOTALĂ a clasei politice. Care este SOLUŢIA lui IOHANNIS pentru consultările de la Cotroceni". Gândul.
  26. ^ "Manifestatiile din Romania, sustinute de romanii din strainatate. "Nu va lasam singuri", s-a strigat la Paris si Londra". Stirile Pro TV. 4 November 2015.
  27. ^ Mădălina Mihalache, Sebastian Zachmann (6 November 2015). "Cine sunt cei 20 care au reprezentat societatea civilă la consultările de la Cotroceni. Iohannis: Voi merge în Piaţă, dar nu voi anunţa ora şi ziua". Adevărul.
  28. ^ "Iohannis a stat 20 de minute in Piata Universitatii. "Un lucru bun c-a fost, un lucru rau ca a venit prea tarziu"". Stirile Pro TV. 9 November 2015.
  29. ^ "REPORTAJ: Prezenţa lui Iohannis în Piaţa Universităţii, marcată de cereri şi câteva încercări de dialog". Mediafax. 9 November 2015.