National Day festivities in Bucharest were marked by enthusiasm as well as booing. The spectators were more numerous than the previous years, with many children. Approximately 20,000 people participated in the parade at the Arch of Triumph, according to official Gendarmerie estimates. The leaders of USL, PM Victor Ponta and Crin Antonescu, came to the parade together, leading the way for a group of ministers who were accompanied by spouses and children. The PM came with his two boys, and his example was also taken by lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea. When he arrived to the Arch of Triumph Square, President Basescu greeted the members of the Government from a distance and, during he military parade, he talked to Constitutional Court judge Aspazia Cojocaru. Before he departed, Basescu greeted the General Mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, Health Minister Raed Arafat and several members of Parliament. As he was reviewing the guard of honour, the president was hooted by some of the crowd assembled for the parade. ‘Shame! Shame on you!’, ‘Down with Basescu!’ and whistles could be heard almost permanently, partly covered by the military music, from a group of a few dozens of people who had also participated in the University Square protests. Basescu’s departure was also accompanied by shouts (‘Down with Basescu’), booking and whistling.Prime Minister Victor Ponta said USL had not sent there any people to whistle Traian Basescu and that he had not been offended by the fact that the head of state had not shake his hand during the ceremony, because, as the prime minister, he had stood next to the ministers and speakers of Parliament and the president had not deemed it necessary and useful to greet them. Ponta noted that he personally had even greeted the Constitutional Court judge Aspazia Cojocaru, despite his views on the way in which she had decided on the referendum for the impeachment of the president. ‘We couldn’t go to the president all of us, we could not chase him. If he considered it as necessary, he would have come to shake hands,’ Ponta said on RTV Saturday night. There have also been some medical incidents during the parade on Saturday. Seven participants in Bucharest needed the ambulance and two male patients were taken to the hospital. Five other spectators received medical care there. Before the military parade, PM Victor Ponta had organised the Open Door Day at the Government where, next to his wife and children, guided the public to the Cabinet meeting room and gave autographs on Romanian flags. The Government building was decorated on the National Day with a big flag made in Targu Jiu. ‘I hope that every year from now on, no matter who the prime minister or the president are, no matter who the head of the Parliament is, they use this idea on the National Day. It’s something we are re-discovering after 1989,’ Ponta said. The National Day was also celebrated in the country. The 1 December festivities in Alba Iulia began in the city centre Saturday morning, where the Alba Prefecture organised a ceremony for laying wreaths of flowers at the statues of Iuliu Maniu and Ion. I. C. Bratianu, following a similar ceremony held in Alba Iulia on Friday. In Timisoara, a few thousand people coped with the cold and rainy weather Saturday morning and went to the Revolution Boulevard to see the National Day military parade, the second biggest one after Bucharest. In Cluj-Napoca, the Army also offered the thousands of people who were there to see the military equipment and a nice show on December 1 in the Avram Iancu Square.
President Basescu on Facebook: Let us show solidarity!
The head of state chose not to make any official statements during the official ceremonies, but to post a video message on his Facebook page instead. In his message, Basescu asked Romanians ‘from the bottom of his heart’ to show solidarity, which, according to him, is the condition for overcoming the economic crisis in good conditions. ‘Do not look at politicians and see how small they are, they are running after votes. Romanians must run for their country, they must show solidarity, they must be together. This is the only change we have (…). The only way we can overcome this crisis in good conditions is through unity. If we don’t overcome it together, all of us, it means that Romania has not either’, President Basescu states in his almost two-minute long video message. The president wished Romanians in the country and overseas ‘Happy National Day!’, along with his appeal to solidarity: ‘Let us show solidarity!’The president message to Romanian soldiers on the Afghanistan front and in the Gulf of Aden was to come back ‘safely’ and take care of each other’.
Hillary Clinton, message to Romanians on their National Day
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sends Romanians, on the National Day, December the 1st, “all good wishes,” according to a message posted on the State Department website. “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send all good wishes to Romanians, on the Unification Day, December 1,” said U.S. Secretary of State Clinton. “Your support for NATO and other international organizations helped to advance the ideals of freedom and democracy. Together, we work in the Balkans and Afghanistan, to provide millions of people hope for a better future,” Clinton added. At the end of the message, the U.S. reminds Romania, I am confident that the Romanian-American partnership will continue for many years to come.