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Some 5,000 people attended the autonomy march in Targu Mures Sunday evening, holding Szekely flags and pennants as well as pro-autonomy boards reading ‘Szekely County – Szekelyland’. Wearing paramilitary uniforms or traditional Hungarian costumes, the participants rallied at the Monument of Martyr Szekely in Targu Mures, where brief speeches were held by various Hungarian ethnics. Present at the protest, the leader of the National Council of Hungarians in Transylvania (CNMT), MEP Laszlo Tokes, said he would step up effort in order to convince Romania to recognise the autonomy of the Szekely County. ‘This year is a year of autonomy! (…) We have wasted 20 years with just procrastinations’, Adevarul daily quotes Tokes as having said. The European MP sent a message to ‘Romanian brothers’ in Romanian, whom he told that their solidarity was needed, ‘as the Szekely have defended Transylvania for centuries’.
The representatives of the National Szekely Council (CNS) – who are also the organisers of the event – and the members of the Hungarian Civic Party (PCM), in turn, advised the participants in the march to stay calm and pursue their interest – getting Szekely County autonomy. ‘Autonomy should not be an election campaign theme. This s something I have always supported and this is why we did not dwell on this around the parliamentary election’, said PCM President Biró Zsolt. Marc Gafarot I. Monjo, representing the Party for Catalan Convergence, also participated in the Targu Mures march. His message to the protesters was to never let go of their autonomy aim. ‘It’s your right!’ – said the Catalan politician. After the speeches, the demonstrators adopted a petition to the Government, which was handed over to Mures Prefecture officials. In their petition, they demand autonomy for the Szekely County, freedom for the Szekely and urge authorities ‘to stop their war against Szekely symbols’ (referring to the recent scandal over the hoisting of the Szekely flag on various public institution in the area – a/n), as well as ‘the harassment and threatening of Hungarians and Szekely ethnics’. The protesters also want the Szekely County to become a self-contained administrative region with legally regulated territorial autonomy. They also oppose an administrative reorganisation ‘that would hurt Szekely interests’. After the rally, PM Victor Ponta said on TV that institutions representing the Government and central authorities, regardless the region, must only display the flags of Romania and European Union. ‘As for the rest, if we can find a way in which each local authority that has its local symbol – because Botosani, Teleorman and Harghita have one – can use it for local authority institutions, I don’t see a big problem with that’, Ponta said on Antena3 TV. He noted that a solution could only be found by dialogue and not by forceful extremist action.
Rallies abroad too
Pro-Zekler Land rallies were also held in Budapest and three other Hungarian cities, “Adevarul” reported, quoting the „Magyar Nemzet“ daily newspaper. Gyorgy Mozes Arpad, president of the Zekler Land Association, said it was very important for demonstrators to get in front of the Romanian Embassy, „to put an end to the string of Romanian diplomatic distortions”. “The time has come for the public opinion and politicians in the EU to find out that the aspiration for Szekler autonomy has juridical substantiation in the Union,“ said Arpad.
Mures Prefect Corneliu Grosu says that Traian Basescu rang him on Sunday, shortly before the autonomy meeting in Targu Mures and voiced his concern over the youth not being educated to respect the symbols of the country they live in, amid the Miercurea Ciuc ice hockey team members, “denied Romania’s anthem” upon receiving the 2012 “Gabor Aron” Award from the National Szekler Council. “The president expressed his – natural I would say – concern over the fact that among those awarded at Culture Palace were the Miercurea Ciuc hockey team (…) The president expressed concern at the children’s and youth’s respect for the symbols of the country where they live – and I believe it’s not normal to award a prize to somebody who denies Romania’s national anthem and the country’s symbols,” Mediafax quoted the prefect as saying.
New Right to march against ‘Hungarian irredentism’
On Friday, the Day of Hungarians Everywhere, New Right movement is organising in Arad a march to commemorate Avram Iancu, with ‘a message against Hungarian irredentism’. The announcement was made yesterday by Arad New Right President Dumitru Magureanu, who noted that he had obtained from the local authorities the permit to hold a march of over 100 members and sympathisers of his organisation. ‘This message is one against Hungarian irredentism. We will be singing patriotic songs all throughout the march which we would very much like to be a peaceful event’, Mediafax quotes the New Right leader as having said. The participants will hold Romanian flags and banners. The march will happen just hours before the commemorations organised by the Hungarian local community in the Park of Romanian-Hungarian Reconciliation, where approximately 1,000 people are expected. ‘It’s a manifestation obviously meant to attack, a counter-demonstration when the other ones celebrate their National Day. This is not a gesture of mutual respect we would like to keep in Arad and everywhere in Romania’, said UDMR county organisation head Levente Bognar.