BUSINESS

Third day of protests against Chevron at Pungesti




Tension among the 300 protesters which formed a human chain, despite being surrounded by a large number of gendarmes. The unrest among the local population led to unpleasant situations, as two protesters fainted.
Approximately 300 people protested at Silistea, Pungesti commune, Vaslui County, where the American company Chevron will drill the first well in view of exploring shale gas in the region. The protesters, some of whom came from as far as Barlad, Iasi and other towns, as well as the inhabitants of Pungesti, priests, even children raised tents on the land envisaged by Chevron, HotNews.ro reports. They spent Tuesday night in the field and say they will not leave and will not allow the Americans to drill their wells. On the second day of the protest, four priests from Pungesti churches joined their ranks, wearing religious garb. “They are our flock and we must support them,” one of the clergymen said.
The people made a human chain, kneeled and held their hands, shouting ‘Thieves!’, while being surrounded by a large number of gendarmes, Realitatea TV informs. Initially, 80 gendarmes were sent to Pungesti, but yesterday morning their number had soared to 100, plus 20 policemen. For some time, the protesters blocked one lane of the county road Vaslui-Garceni, forcing motorists to alternatively use only the remaining lane, under the protection of gendarmes who made a cordon at the middle of the road.
The rally is attended by approximately 300-400 people, according to the Gendarmerie and the organisers of the protests. “We created a movement of resistance and will not give up. People are willing to stay here day and night, in order to defend their land. Last night, there were protesters who needed medical care, suffered panic attacks, so we called the ambulance, but none came, I don’t know why. We are subject to pressure, the number of law enforcement troops has increased. Besides gendarmes and policemen, Chevron brought agents from a guard company. They are ready to bring their machines,” protester Constantin Paslaru told.
Several inhabitants of Pungesti demanded the resignation of mayor Mircia Vlasa (PSD), whom they accuse of yielding to party interests, without taking the opinion of his voters into consideration. Mayor Mircia Vlasa was not available for comments, but he repeatedly stated that the exploration of shale gas poses no threat to the environment. According to employees of the Pungesti mayor’s office, the mayor is on medical leave.

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