Several Second World War veterans as well as soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq were not allowed to hoist the Romanian flag on the Sfantu Gheorghe City Hall on Tuesday. Mayor Antal Arpad told them that the flag will be hoisted on another occasion, after a request is filed. One of the veterans present at the event stated that in this case he will “file a request to God.”
Minister Oprea calls for sanctions for refusal to hoist national flag in Covasna County’s seat
As a result of the scandal, Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea asked the Prefect of Covasna County to take the legal measures required in order for the Sfantu Gheorghe City Hall to allow the event to proceed, and to sanction, in line with the law, the attitude shown toward a request coming from Romanian Army veterans.
“As Deputy Prime Minister for National Security and Interior Minister, I ask the Sfantu Gheorghe City Hall and Local Council to act on the basis of the letter and spirit of the Romanian Constitution and to hoist the national flag on all local public institutions. Likewise, I ask the Prefect to verify, on the basis of his prerogatives, that all Romanian laws are respected by the Sfantu Gheorghe City Hall and Local Council, including in what concerns the incident signalled by the press today, when Romanian veterans were not allowed to hoist the national flag on the building of the local City Hall,” Oprea points out in a communiqué.
“Romania is a model of tolerance and respect for the rights of minorities, including and especially in what concerns relations with the Hungarian minority. Precisely because of this, we look with maximum concern on what is going on in Sfantu Gheorghe and we consider that the refusal of any local representative to hoist the national flag on the institution he leads represents an unjustified provocation toward all Romanian citizens, irrespective of ethnicity. Mayoralties and local councils are Romanian institutions and those who lead them have to respect the letter and the spirit of this country’s Constitution. In Romania respect for national symbols is not optional and cannot be conditioned by the ethnic makeup of a community or by the whims of local representatives. According to the Constitution, Romania is a national, sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible state and this is how it should remain,” Deputy Prime Minister for National Security Gabriel Oprea emphasized.
The veterans are taking part in a historic relay re-enacting the way in which Transylvania was liberated in 1944. Soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq are also taking part in the event. The relay will go through 20 cities in Transylvania and will put up the Romanian flag on their symbolic buildings, antena3.ro informs. The first city was Sfantu Gheorghe, where the City Hall repeatedly tried to prevent the hoisting of the flag.
One year has passed since the Sfantu Gheorghe City Hall took down the national flag and the soldiers injured in theatres abroad wanted to repair this injustice. Sfantu Gheorghe was the first city liberated in Northern Transylvania in the Second World War. The Romanian Army hoisted the national flag on the Sfantu Gheorghe City Hall on 8 September 1944, as a symbol of the city’s liberation.
The veterans’ relay will go through 20 cities in Transylvania and the Romanian flag will be hoisted on symbolic buildings.
UNPR demands resignation of Sfantu Gheorghe mayor and his deputy
The National Union for Romania’s Progress (UNPR) is urging the mayor and deputy mayor of Sfantu Gheorghe to resign their offices immediately following their refuse to raise the Romanian national flag on the city hall.
”The action of the Romanian Army veterans when they wanted to raise the national flag on the city hall in Sfantu Gheorghe was conducted as part of the events in 2015, the Year of the War Veterans, as approved under Government Decision 164/2015. The refusal to meet a legitimate and natural request from Romanian veterans shows that the mayor of Sfantu Gheorghe and his deputy are no longer entitled to hold any office in the Romanian government. It is unacceptable that Romanian citizens, although of Hungarian ancestry, refuse to raise the national flag and ostensibly ignore the provisions of the Constitution and Romania’s veterans,” UNPR said in a press statement sent to Agerpres on Tuesday.
UNPR also pointed out that any attack against national symbols is an attack against the State, calling on all the political parties to come up with a public stance on the incident in Sfantu Gheorghe and demand the resignation of all those responsible for ”this serious and unacceptable conduct against national symbols.”
UNPR argued that the only aim of such provocations is to encourage actions running contrary to Romania’s interests.