Violent unionist rally in Bucharest. The gendarmerie intervened in force when a few young people from across the Prut wanted to force gendarme cordon
Approx. 2,000 people participated on Saturday to a unionist march entitled “Fight for Bessarabia”, to request politicians to assume the country project of the union of Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The march was organized by the Unionist Platform “Actiunea 2012”, for the fifth consecutive year.
The protesters shouted “Bessarabia is Romania!” and asked the political leaders to turn the union of Romania and Bessarabia into a priority. They went from Unirii Square to the Government and then to University Square.
“We’re not parties, we’re not organizations; we are free people, unionists. We gathered from all the parts of the country to welcome our brothers from Bessarabia, who walked to our country last year and whose wish wasn’t listened by the Romanian political class. There’s a great indifference in this moment in Bucharest, but this indifference must stop today, here and now. We gathered in front of Hanul lui Manuc because here’s the place where Bessarabia was stolen the first time, and we won’t stop this rally until PM Dacian Ciolos and all the leaders of the political parties will not listen to us and assume the union as a country project”, stated one of the demonstrators for Mediafax.
“We came as we came last year within the Stefan the Great march, we, the young people from Moldova, to state very clear that we wish the union of the Republic of Moldova and Romania. We say it now. We came last year, we were welcomed at Cotroceni, not by the President, but we were welcomed and we left without having clear promises. Now we came and we won’t go until we’ll be listened”, said a unionist.
“We’re waiting PM Ciolos, President Klaus Iohannis, Dragnea, Gorghiu and all the political leaders in the University Square! We’re waiting for them to come and tell us that union is on the public agenda, that it’s a main project, not a promise, an idea”, stated another man.
Claims of the demonstrators: PM and parties should assume the project of the reunification project as a country project
“We ask the PM and the presidents of the parties who will run into the electoral race to assume the national reunification through a statement of the Parliament, in the next session, and to assume the reunification project as a country project, with all the steps arising from this: energy interconnection, monetary unification, joint media space”, stated George Simion, the President of the Unionist Platform “Actiunea 2012”, which organized the march called “Fight for Bessarabia”.
According to him, the march was authorized for the route: Hanul lui Manuc – Bratianu – Magheru – Lascar Catargiu – Victoriei Square and back to the University Square.
“We want to send a clear message: We have no more patience! PM and political parties see the matter of the reunification in terms of future generations. We want the union to be made by our generation. It’s the last chance for our Romanian brothers from across the Prut”, also stated the unionist movement’s leader.
He said that the demonstrators will not leave from the street until they will have dialogues with PM Dacian Ciolos and the representatives of the parties. “We’re not leaving the street until we will have dialogues with these parties and with the Romanian PM. We will tell them that we will stay in the street until our wishes will be heard and until they will have a dialogue with us”, Simion stated.
The organizers of the march announced through a press release that they will stay in the street until the decision-makers in Bucharest will assume the union as a country project and they will have consultations to this end with the representatives of the unionists.
“The immediate measures for the union refer to the approval by the Romanian Parliament of a Union Statement, to founding the Reunification Ministry and to signing a Pact of the Snagov type on the issue of the national reunification. The Union Statement in the Parliament will represent Romania’s political offer for the Republic of Moldova”, reads the quoted press release.
The deadline for the dialogue of the political parties and Prime-Minister with the protesters was decided to be on Sunday, according to the quoted source.
According to the Romanian Gendarmerie, the event was authorized as follows: from 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm, march on the route Hanul lui Manuc – University Square – Romana Square – Victoriei Square, and from 5.30 pm to 6.00 pm, speeches in Victoriei Square.
Gendarmes intervened in force to block protesters’ access to Calea Victoriei
Five demonstrators who were participating on Saturday to the March for Bessarabia in Bucharest, were raised and brought to the 4th Police Station to be identified and heard, following the incidents occurred at the protest, according to the representatives of the Bucharest Gendarmerie.
The representatives of the Bucharest Gendarmerie stated that, after forcing the gendarme belt in the Calea Victoriei area, five demonstrators attending to the march for the union of Romania and Bessarabia were raised and brought tot eh 4th Police Station to be identified and heard.
“Close to Victoriei Square, a group formed by approx. 5 to 10 persons tried to enter Calea Victoriei, forcing the gendarme belt. Through the dialogue teams placed at spot, there have been performed a dialogue with them, and they were informed about the legal way, but they didn’t understand, so we had punctual actions and the five persons were extracted from the demonstrators and brought to the police stations. The five persons were brought to the 4th Police Station to be identified and to take legal measures on them, and four person among them were sanctioned according to the Law no. 60 on the public meetings organization, each of them being fined with RON 3,000. Teargas wasn’t used, we acted according to the law”, stated Mihai Vornicu, public relations officer within Bucharest Gendarmerie.
The rally ended without other incidents
The rally organized by the Unionist Platform “Actiunea 2012” in Victoriei Square ended without other incidents, some of the demonstrators going to University Square, were the unionist leader George Simion was already present, urging people to join the rally.
George Simion, who was raised by gendarmes from Victoriei Square and brought to the Police station, where he was fined, claims that he was assaulted and his clothes were broken, being accused that he forced the gendarme belt.
He launched a call, using a megaphone, urging people in Bucharest to ask for the union together with the approx. 200 people already present in the University Square, warning that demonstrators will not leave until they will be invited to a talk with PM Dacian Ciolos.
“We’ll stay here until PM Ciolos will meet us”, shouted George Simion.
Besides, from the moment of his arrestment, he launched several calls on Facebook, asking the union supporters to go to the University Square.
Asked if he has an approval for this action, he said he doesn’t need one, since the University Square is the place where Romanians got their freedom.
Tents installed in the University Square in the evening
Several tents were installed in the University Square on Saturday evening by the demonstrators attending on Saturday to the March for Bessarabia; they stated that they do not intend to leave until the Presidency, the Government and politicians will not declare that the union with Bessarabia is a national priority.
Approx. 300 unionists regathered at the fountain in the University Square, saying that they don’t intend to leave until the Presidency, the Government and politicians will not declare that the union with Bessarabia is a national priority.
Demonstrators installed tents near the fountain in the University Square, although they don’t have approval for this.
“Some of the demonstrators have opted to return to the University Square, given that the protest isn’t authorized anymore, but the gendarmes ensure their presence as long as they don’t escalate, they don’t block communication ways ad of course as long as they observe the gendarmes’ instructions. The municipality was contacted, installing tents is not allowed since it’s a public domain and we cannot turn the public domain in other kind of spaces. Of course, they will be advised to remove those tents, we have a permanent dialogue with them, through our dialogue teams. So far, they were understanding”, stated Mihai Vornicu.
“At the end of each mission, if my colleagues have operative films and if we can see that gendarmes were wrong or they intervened in an unlawful manner, these issues will be investigated and corresponding measures will be taken. In this moment, there is no ongoing investigation, since there is no information that gendarmes acted unlawfully”, Mihai Vornicu also said on Saturday.
IntMin asked for a report on the incidents in the Victoriei Square
IntMin Ioan-Dragos Tudorache asked to the General Inspector of the Romanian Gendarmerie a full report on the events in the Victoriei Square that caused the arrestment of the five participants. The Interior Minister stated that he will not hesitate to take measures if abuses were committed during gendarmes’ intervention. Gendarmes were ordered not to intervene in the development of the rally in the university Square, unless they have to ensure the participants’ protection and the flow of the traffic in the area.
Incidents occurred at the unionists’ march, an occasion for campaign and accusations between the parties, the Government and the Municipality
Incidents occurred at the unionists’ march on Saturday gave the opportunity to the parties to accuse each other or the Government, depending on the electoral agenda of each formation.
The leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Alina Gorghiu, indicated the Bucharest Municipality and the Gendarmerie, after five demonstrators attending to the march for the union of Romania and Bessarabia were raised and brought to the 4th Police Station.
“I’m making a call to the current administration of Bucharest/to the Gendarmerie, to allow the peaceful rally of the people. They can block the elements who wish to escalate the march, but respecting the message of the fair militants. I believe that the upcoming elections in Moldova causes tensions on both sides of the Prut, but we’re not giving an example of democracy by blocking their access to the protest. Regardless of the result of the elections in Chisinau, the European path of this country cannot be changed, and this is the clearest message we have to send”, Gorghiu wrote on Facebook, on Saturday.
Fire: It’s not the first time when Mrs. Gorghiu lies related to my activity, I warn her not to perform disinformation campaigns anymore
In reply, also on Facebook, the Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea condemned “the irresponsible attitude of the PNL President Alina Gorghiu, who accuses the Bucharest Municipality of escalating the tensions and violence between the gendarmes and the participants at the unionist rally in Bucharest”.
She claimed that the Bucharest Municipality, through the Technical Commission for Approval of Public Demonstrations, did nothing else but approving a march organized in order to send a message of union of Romania and Bessarabia, and criticized the Gendarmerie.
“I firmly condemn the irresponsible attitude of the PNL President Alina Gorghiu, who accuses the Bucharest Municipality of escalating tensions and violence between gendarmes and participants at the unionist rally in Bucharest. Such manipulating attitudes are extremely dangerous and they can cause an increase of the violence in the next period. Bucharest Municipality, through the Technical Commission for Approval of Public Demonstrations, did nothing else than approving a march organized in order to send a message of union of Romania and Bessarabia. The Gendarmerie decided to arrest 5 leaders of the demonstrators, without involving or consulting the Bucharest Municipality – an action which we consider to be exaggerated. Mrs. Gorghiu wishes, by her irresponsible assertions, to cover the huge mistake of the technocrat Government, accusing the Municipality. The Gendarmerie is an institution under the Ministry of Interior’s authority, namely under the Government’s authority. It’s not the first time when Mrs. Gorghiu lies related to my activity, and that’s why I warn her not to misinform people and start manipulation campaigns anymore”, Gabriela Firea wrote.
Basescu accuses the Government: A bunch of villains who are traitors of the motherland
In his turn, the leader of the Popular Movement Party (PMP), Traian Basescu, launched an attack in offensive terms against the Government – “a bunch of villains who are traitors of the motherland”
“You bastards, or you, Julien, what are you dealing with?
In Romania, the leaders of those who demonstrated today in Bucharest for the Union of Romania and Republic of Moldova were arrested and raised with gendarme vans.
Shame on you, you bunch of villains and traitors of the motherland.
Ciolos, how servant can you, the Romanian Government, be?
For the violence of the gendarmes against the unionists from the Republic of Moldova and Romania, the Interior Minister and Dacian Julien Ciolos must disappear from public life.
You servant, you are so concerned about the unionism. You arrested George Simion, one of the unionist leaders, to be nice in front of Germany and Russian Federation”, wrote the former President on Facebook.
“Ciolos had to welcome them and to offer them a glass of water”
Later, at a TV channel, the former President Traian Basescu nuanced his position and condemned the gendarmes’ reaction, who used force, saying that he considers a “mistake” the manner in which they acted. “I am sure that they would have had dozens of other methods than intervening in force, especially considering the significance of this march, which is not a protesting march. It’s a march to support Romania’s future”, Traian Basescu stated in a phone intervention at Romania TV.
The former President also said that “probably the key word was ‘erase them completely’”. Not at last, Traian Basescu stated that PM Dacian Ciolos should have received the unionists at least to offer them “a glass of water”.
“There were so many unauthorized rallies where force wasn’t used. It shouldn’t be used also this time. I’m not saying that gendarmes shouldn’t have imposed the respect of the authority, a thing that they could have done without sprays, without vans. (…) In such a moment and for such a demonstration, to use force as a last solution seems to me a mistake. Less violent means could be found. (…) Romanian people have also the right to say: we want union. In my opinion, the action manner of the gendarmes, in case they make the slightest movement, was ‘erase them completely’, ‘put them into vans’, to let televisions in the whole Europe how you treat these enemies, this unionists. That’s the message.” (…) “When they came to Cotroceni with a small delegation, I welcomed them, I gave them a coffee and a glass of water. Ciolos should have received them to give them a glass of water”, Traian Basescu stated.
Victor Ponta, vehement reaction
The former Romanian Prime-Minister, Victor Ponta, also reacted vehemently after the gendarmes’ intervention during the unionist march in Bucharest.
Victor Ponta drew attention on the attitude of the current Government.
“Last time when gendarmes received the order to assault demonstrators in Romania was early in 2012, when the Basescu-Boc Government was in office!
In the 2012-2015 period, during the “Ponta-USL” Government, force was never used against protesting people, regardless the reason and their actions!
The “Iohannis-Ciolos” Government came to Power following some UNAUTHORIZED public demonstrations! Today, they used force against the participants to “The Unionist March”! And it will be increasingly worse.
Dear compatriots, be prepared to know what you have to face – especially if you dare not to vote “Iohannis-Ciolos-PNL-USR” on December 11, or you intend to protest for your rights anymore!
WINTER IS COMING!” Victor Ponta wrote on Facebook.
Ghita and Tomac, support for the unionists brought to the Police station
Several politicians, including Sebastian Ghita and Eugen Tomac, came on Saturday by their free will to the 4th Police Station, where the five demonstrators were arrested by the gendarmes following the incidents occurred at the rally for the union of Bessarabia and Romania, to be informed about their situation. Before coming to the Police station, the deputy of the United Romania Party (PRU) Sebastian Ghita, asked for the Interior Minister’s resignation for the way in which the Gendarmerie managed the incidents.
A part of the protesters also came to the 4th Police Station to support the people arrested by the gendarmes. They were surprised to see politicians coming to the Police station.
The representatives of the protesters stated that they are outraged by the politicians’ presence, saying that they think that politicians went to the police for publicity.
Protesting unionists meet political party leaders
George Simion, leader of the ‘Action 2012’ unionist platform, stated on Sunday for Mediafax that the gendarmes monitored the protesters throughout the night of Saturday to Sunday and there were no longer any other incidents.
The protesters announced their intention to remain in University Square throughout the day Sunday and called on all Romanians who want Romania’s reunification with the Republic of Moldova to join them. At the same time, they asked Romanian political leaders they met on Sunday to come to the “barricade” at the University Square and to adopt the union as a national project.
PSD: Requests unionist leader George Simion presented are legitimate
The requests presented by unionist leader George Simion are legitimate, Social Democratic Party (PSD) Senator Ecaterina Andronescu stated after meeting the representatives of ‘Action 2012.’
Antonescu announced that PSD is open toward the proposal for Parliament to adopt a statement on the topic of a union between Romania and the Republic of Moldova. “I’ve talked with PSD President Dragnea to include this in the platform we are finalising these days,” she said.
ALDE: Tudorache’s resignation, a gesture of responsibility
On Sunday, ALDE demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Dragos Tudorache, for the way in which the Interior Ministry’s representatives handled the incidents that occurred at the pro-union rally.
“ALDE firmly condemns the attitude that the Interior Ministry’s representatives showed at yesterday’s rally. (…) I believe a path of dialogue could have been found and yesterday’s intervention could have been avoided. A resignation would be more than a gesture of responsibility, of accountability; Mr. Tudorache acted wrongly,” ALDE Co-President Daniel Constantin stated following his talks with the unionists.
He pointed out that a set of concrete measures that George Simion will publicly present in the following period was discussed at the meeting.
“We are trying, through dialogue, to slowly assume all these measures in order to attain the common objective,” the ALDE leader said.
In his opinion, the first step should be for Romania to engage in sustained lobbying at EU level for the Republic of Moldova to be included in the European community through “waivers.”
“I assured the protesters that at ALDE we only need to continue the path we set out on many years ago, some of us here were part of a Government that was more than close to the Republic of Moldova,” Daniel Constantin concluded.
In his turn, George Simion appreciated the support he found at ALDE.
PMP’s Basescu proposes setting up of Reunification Ministry
Popular Movement Party (PMP) President Traian Basescu proposed, on Sunday, the establishment of a Reunification Ministry, pointing out that he fully supports the unification.
“We have to discuss it, a ministry of Reunification has to be created because the path has been cleared in this regard, Germany did it in the conditions of the Final Helsinki Act and exactly based on the final provisions of the Helsinki Act. Just like Czechoslovakia split also after the Final Helsinki Act. Also based on the same article which gives people the right to establish, through referendum or through Parliament’s vote, the way they will live in the future. (…) Romania has only to benefit from reunification from the standpoint of the population, the territory, she will be one of Europe’s agricultural powers. Bearing in mind the situation in Transdniester, the reunification cannot be done in the next 10 years. In what concerns yesterday’s events, I don’t consider the gendarmes’ intervention illegal, bearing in mind the failure to respect the permit received from the City Hall,” PMP President Traian Basescu stated after his meeting with the unionists’ leaders.
Asked when will the unification be possible, the PMP President said “when the Moldovan Parliament will want to.”
“One step would be the use of the Romanian Leu in the Republic of Moldova, to speed-up the unification process,” Basescu added.
The PMP President pointed out however that politicians should not “play around” with the referendum because the referendum should be launched at the right moment, giving United Kingdom as an example.
Unionists’ leader announces end of protest after talks with parties
The approximately 100 unionist protesters who spent the night of Saturday to Sunday sleeping in tents in University Square packed up and ended their protest on Sunday afternoon, following talks that the movement’s leader had with the representatives of political parties.
Unionist leader George Simion announced that “our Bessarabian brothers will head home this evening” but the unionist movement in Romania will continue to have meetings with political leaders in order to introduce the unification topic on the main agenda of the future Government. He pointed out that the next unionist rally will take place on December 1, in Brussels, outside the European Parliament building.
“I’m 100 percent content with what we’ve obtained today from most of the political parties, however I believe it’s a start for construction work. Each party has taken on a piece of the national reunification plan, the press was there too, now it’s up to them to fulfil their parcel and the big challenge was getting all of them to sit at the same table for the union goal,” unionist leader George Simion said.