The weekend ended with two protests that have blocked traffic in downtown Bucharest for about two hours. One of the protests involved nearly one hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), chanting anti-government slogans and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, following the changes made by General Prosecutor Tiberiu Nita at DNA. As far as the other rally is concerned, the protesters walked from the Militari neighbourhood to the University square demonstrating against the government’s support for the plan to create Europe’s biggest opencast gold mine in Rosia Montana.
The people gathered outside the DNA headquarters claimed that PM Ponta and Nitu are meddling in the Romanian judiciary. The protesters held up placards reading: “Get your hands off the justice” and they chanted “Ponta do not forget, the justice is not yours!”, “Ponta step down/You’re a liar!” In an answer to a question, Ponta said yesterday that he blames himself for having made a statement on Friday after the replacement of prosecutor Papici, adding that he should not have mentioned names of people: “I should have said one particular thing, because it is related to the justice minister and the justice minister is a member of my Cabinet, that the law has been observed, that the things claimed by President Basescu are absurd and against the law, that the behaviour of President Basescu who called the general prosecutor to tell him not to enact the law is unacceptable. He (Tiberiu Nitu – editor’s note) acted in the right way, in accordance with the law.” Also yesterday, Tiberiu Nitu gave the first declaration after he removed from office the prosecutor Lucian Papici at the end of last week: “I followed no political order; I respected the law.” Nitu declined to explain why he removed Papici from office only a week after he had extended his term by another three months.
On the other hand, the fifth week of protests in Bucharest against the Rosia Montana gold mining project ended with a march attended by roughly 7,000 people. The protesters chanted “United we save Rosia Montana” or “Down with Basescu, Ponta and Antonescu”. On their way to the University Square, the demonstrators stopped in front of the Cotroceni Palace to chant “Get out, you ordinary mutt”. Some of the DNA protesters also took part in the rally against Rosia Montana.
Yesterday’s Rosia Montana Commission hearing included Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian. According to him, there is a gold-bearing quadrangle in Romania, with the reserves that can be exploited amounting to about 700 tonnes. “There are nearly 300 tonnes (of gold reserves – editor’s note) in Rosia Montana, about 200 tonnes in Rovina, 120 tonnes in Certej and nearly 80 tonnes at Carpathian Gold. It’s a very large quantity,” said Vosganian. In his opinion, the exploitation of this resource could double Europe’s production.