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September 20, 2020

Day 13: Heavy snow – not scary for University Square protesters

Dozens of protesters once again gathered yesterday around noon, in the University Square of Bucharest, defying cold, blizzard and heavy snow, for the 13th day of the marathon-protest against government and president. They came with the same slogans and messages they had during previous days: the resignation of the Boc Cabinet and of President Traian Basescu, along with a general protest against the political class and a demand to hold early elections.

Ex-premier Petre Roman was another politician who dared to join the protests in Universitatii Square, but he had the same fate as the other ones: he was hustled and booed by the protesters and gendarmes had to help him to escape the angry crowd.

Also yesterday, resident physicians rallied in front of the Health Ministry, asking authorities to increase the number of places available through the resident exam and the redistribution of places still vacant throughout the country. In a different move, former army officers staged a protest in front of the Cotroceni Palace, where they demanded early elections and the resignation of President Basescu. According to RTV, people say they cannot endure anymore and they need a change. Retired officers from all over the country voiced their solidarity with the 27 year old officer that attended a protest rally wearing his army uniform, who is now the subject of a disciplinary probe by his superiors.

The members of various federations of pensioners met yesterday to decide over the protests they will organise in the coming days. They complain about small pensions and big prices, especially those of medicines.

A group of 25 NGOs urged the political class to take into consideration with “maximum responsibility” the main demands of protesters, i.e. the resignation of President Traian Basescu, the Cabinet, and the calling of early elections. In a press release quoted by Mediafax, the NGOs invite all political parties to act responsibly and show respect to those who are protesting these days. Politicians, however, seem unable to stop attacking each other.

Yesterday, Minister of Interior Traian Igas said that Victor Ponta, too, was booed at the Union Day held Tuesday at Focsani, which proves – according to the minister – that the protests refer to the whole political class and “the Socialists’ attempts to pose as an alternative” will fail.

Meanwhile, international media keep their eyes set on Romanian protests. ‘Le Monde’ writes that the University Square rally is very similar to the Occupy and Indignados movements, which sparked through many states of the world. Press agencies say the Romanian premier launches an appeal to unity, while thousands protest, consider that the protests led to some concessions, but not to a change of policies.

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