Over 150,000 people took part in the PSD-ALDE rally in Victory Square on Saturday, staged to draw attention to abuses in the judicial system.
PSD branches were instructed that the participants, who were brought in from all over the country, should wear white blouses or folk costumes, carry small tricolour flags, have a party logo sticker on their chests, and carry small pocket lights or mobile phones with lighting system.
People wore white shirts and t-shirts and placards reading messages such as “We want social security, not Securitate in society,” “Run, Codruta, Run,” “Iohannis, lawbreaking official.” Protesters left Victory Square around 11 p.m., after they booed repeatedly each time the names of Laura Codruta Kovesi, President Klaus Iohannis, and of the former High Court of Justice President who is currently Constitutional Court judge were pronounced on the stage.
Thousands of policemen and gendarmes, as well as anti-terrorism troops, were mobilised on the streets of Bucharest on a day in which the capital city hosted several other public events apart from the authorised rally that the ruling coalition staged against the “deep state.”
Likewise, a General Aviation Inspectorate helicopter flew over the area.
Leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), accompanied by party Secretary-general Marian Neacsu arrived at around 20:15 in the Bucharest Victoria Square where the anti-abuse rally was slated to start. Dragnea happily shook hands for several minutes with thousands overwhelmingly wearing white shirts as per the recommended dress code, who welcomed him as he worked his way to the stage mounted in the square, with people offering messages of support.
Gabriela Firea in Victory Square: We’ve arrived at fighting for freedom
Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea was the first to address the crowd in Victory Square, where the PSD rally took place, telling people that they are there to defend freedom, dignity, and the right to be free in this country. At the end of the speech, which concluded with the message “long live free Romania,” she recited several stanzas from Eminescu’s ‘What I wish for you, sweet Romania.’
“Welcome to the Capital of Romania in the Centennial Year. We meet to defend our freedom, dignity and the right to be free in this country,” Firea said while people chanted ‘freedom.’
She told those gathered in Victory Square that “so many lies have been told” lately and asked them whether they came to Bucharest willingly or “brought by force,” whether someone has paid or threatened them, the crowd responding to her questions.
“Yes, we’ve arrived at fighting for freedom, and I want us to clarify some aspects, because so many lies have been told in recent days that we must teach them a lesson. Were you glad to come to Bucharest? Willingly? Do you like Bucharest? Were you brought by force? Did someone pay you? Did someone threaten you? Welcome to Bucharest. Dear Romanians, Bucharesters, the Romanians’ right is sacred, the Romanians’ vote is sacred. Someone in a red jacket is taking away our country by force, by taking part in demonstrations. We never break the law,” Firea said.
She claimed that Victory Square must belong to all Romanians who know what freedom and democracy mean. “It should no longer be confiscated by paid people whose interests are contrary to our country. Justice, truth everywhere. In Parliament, Government, institutions. We cannot live with the dictatorship of the minority. Do you agree? The elections were free and fair, and the Romanians’ vote is sacred. Do you agree? We should no longer fear to talk, to leave our homes. If we are honest and we observe the law, why should we fear? Do you want strong and respected institutions?” Firea asked the crowd.
Wearing a folk costume, Gabriela Firea concluded her speech by reciting several stanzas from Eminescu’s ‘What I wish for you, sweet Romania.’
Tariceanu: “Basescu, Iohannis, Kovesi and Coldea are responsible for the abuses of the last 10 years”
Senate Speaker and ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Saturday, at the PSD rally in Victory Square, that Traian Basescu and Klaus Iohannis, along with “their tools” Laura Codruta Kovesi and Florian Coldea, are responsible for the “abuses” of the last decade.
“The new Securitate has two parents. (…) One is called Traian Basescu and the other Klaus Iohannis. Traian Basescu created the new Securitate and Klaus Iohannis is using it against his political opponents. Traian Basescu and Klaus Iohannis, along with their tools called Kovesi and Coldea, are responsible for the abuses of the last ten years,” Tariceanu said in his speech at the rally.
The ALDE leader encouraged the participants not to allow themselves intimidated and promised that the wiretapping of phones will cease.
“The illegal interventions in politics and the economy will likewise stop, and this will be the responsibility of the supreme institution of democracy, namely of Parliament. I don’t want revenge, and I’m convinced you don’t want revenge either. That is why I call on all those who are undercover – the undercover ones from the press, the judiciary, the undercover ones from politics, the administration, everywhere – I’m asking them all for the courage to be part of the change and reconciliation in this country. In what concerns me, I commit myself to keep fighting until our justice, freedom and dignity prevails for good,” the Senate Speaker added.
“The deep state is our biggest enemy, and if we continue to accept financing this sick mechanism then we should not be surprised that there is no money for education and healthcare”
On Saturday evening, at the rally organised by PSD, Calin Popescu Tariceanu talked about “occult forces that have taken hold of this country,” telling the people in Victory Square that a deep state and a democratic state cannot coexist. “If we continue to accept financing this sick mechanism, we should not be surprised that there is no money for education and healthcare,” the ALDE leader said.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu was among the ruling coalition leaders who gave speeches on the stage in Victory Square, talking to people about “a phenomenon” that threatens democracy and independence – “the deep state omnipresent in politics, economy, media and the judiciary.”
The Senate Speaker also said that “occult forces have taken hold of this country.”
“We must continue fighting until the healthy force of democratic, legitimate institutions elected by you will defeat the sick, obscure forces, the forces of darkness, the occult forces that have taken hold of this country. We want real democracy, and a real demonstration of that means an independent and fair judicial system, it means the separation of powers, it means the observance of the result of free elections, respect for individual rights and freedoms, and the fact that we are all equal before the law,” Tariceanu added, according to Agerpres.
He also said that a deep state and a democratic state cannot coexist.
“The deep state is our biggest enemy, and if we continue to accept financing this sick mechanism then we should not be surprised that there is no money for education and healthcare,” the Senate Speaker told the people in Victory Square.
Likewise, Tariceanu accused the SRI and the DNA of transforming the citizens in targets and of “hounding them instead of hounding the real enemies of Romania.”
“Step by step, the establishment wiretaps our phones, keeps us under surveillance and when we resist it does everything possible to send us to prison. (…) I promise you that the phone tapping will stop, non-legal interventions in politics and the economy will likewise stop, and this will be the responsibility of the supreme institution of democracy, namely of Parliament. (…) I call on all those who are undercover, the undercover ones from the press, the undercover ones from the judiciary, the undercover ones from politics, from administration, everywhere: I ask them all for the courage to be part of the change and reconciliation in this country,” Tariceanu added.
Lia Olguta Vasilescu: We were mocked, called into question, pushed against the wall
Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu stated on Saturday that the attendance at the PSD-ALDE rally in Victory Square “unmasks a system accustomed to working with manipulation, handcuffs and violence.”
“We heard speculations, we were mocked, called into question, pushed against the wall. We came in large numbers and this is extraordinary. Your presence here unmasks a system accustomed to working with manipulation, handcuffs, violence, and you are showing here, today, that the deep state can no longer lie forever,” Lia Olguta Vasilescu stated in her speech.
She pointed out that the deeps state “has a face.” “I want to tell you how the deep state looks. I met the deep state, it came to my home. I saw it in the DNA offices. I was accused of passive bribery. People trust you? Go to jail! I was humiliated, falsely accused, and I’m not the only politician in this situation. You have seen Ms Rarinca. What happened to us can happen to anyone. The deep state has a face. The Securitate people who wiretap you illegally are hiding behind it, the prosecutors who falsify evidence are hiding behind it, the journalists who are lying,” Vasilescu added.
Premier Viorica Dancila: The Romanians’ vote must be respected. Abuses must be stopped
Premier Viorica Dancila told the more than 130,000 people who gathered in Victory Square on Saturday evening that the vote of Romanians must be respected and the abuses within the judiciary must be stopped, adding that dossiers were opened against Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu right before the 2016 elections campaign for PSD to lose the elections.
“The Romanians’ vote must be observed. The abuses must be stopped, we should put an end to the age of hatred. This is the difference between us and the ones impeding us – we raised salaries, they cut them when they were in Government; we raised pensions, they were against it and they cut them when they were in Government. We started the judicial reform. They oppose it. Romania’s economy has grown and continues to grow, they said that our measures will lead to economic imbalance. Who benefits from the permanent assault against the Government? Those doing this, do they really want the Romanians’ wellbeing? I don’t think so! I was accused of betraying the country. The accusations levelled against me are absurd, but I expect anything on the part of some cowardly people who are unable to wage a political battle out in the open,” Dancila told the people present in Victory Square.
The Premier accused that criminal dossiers were opened against Dragnea and Tariceanu right before the 2016 elections campaign for PSD to lose the elections.
“The criticism levelled against the Government has but one coordinate: hatred toward the Social Democratic Party. No alternative programme, not even pinpoint criticism. They are yet to find out that Romanians do not want abuses, that they will never vote for those who hate and divide,” Viorica Dancila told the protesters, whom she called “dear friends.”
The Head of Government had two messages for them: “the Government will continue to fight for the prosperity of Romanians” and “we will not give in to pressure and abuses.”
“We must love and bring back the Romanians. Romania needs unity, Romania doesn’t need hatred and division,” Dancila concluded her speech.
Mariana Rarinca : We can fight only united
In the applause of the crowd, Mariana Rarinca – the victim of a judicial system abuse committed by former High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) President Livia Stanciu – took to the stage at the PSD rally.
“I was locked up for more than six months because I demanded my rights from Livia Stancu, ICCJ President at the time. Instead of paying her debt, she threw me in jail.
“In my case, DNA prosecutors broke the CCR decision, hounded the judges that acquitted me, stole the dossier from the archive so that a panel of judges favourable to them would be able to try me. This could happen to any of you. The deep state doesn’t need motives.
“Who can guarantee that those among you who will go through what I went through will have the same luck (with the help of Razvan Savaliuc and of the lawyer)?
“When we enter the courtroom, we should be confident we have a fair judge, we shouldn’t pray to all saints to give us a fair judge.
“We can fight only united,” Mariana Rarinca told the people present at the PSD rally.
Plesoianu: At this very moment, Kovesi, Iohannis, Coldea, Maior and all their Securitate people have locked themselves up in a living room. They see what we are doing here, and they are afraid
In his speech on the stage in Victory Square, House lawmaker Liviu Plesoianu (PSD) said that President Klaus Iohannis, DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, former SRI Director George Maior, and former SRI Deputy Director Florian Coldea are in a living room, afraid of what they are seeing in the streets. Likewise, he also gave a speech in English, for the international press, a speech in which he talked about abuses and the secret protocols concluded by the SRI and Romania’s enforcement agencies.
“I’ve been waiting for a year and a half for the real majority to be heard. I have news: at this very moment, several persons – Kovesi, Iohannis, Coldea, Maior and all their Securitate people – have locked themselves in a living room. They see what we are doing here and they’re afraid. In a free country it’s not the people who should be afraid, the torturers should be afraid,” Liviu Plesoianu said at the start of his speech.
“You are extraordinarily numerous, but I don’t see Kovesi. Do you see her anywhere? Let’s shout together: Ms Owl, where are you hiding? And let’s shout some more: she’s a living room dweller and no longer resists,” the PSD lawmaker added.
During his speech, Liviu Plesoianu chanted along with the protesters: “She’s a living room dweller and no longer resists”, “Come out, torturer owl,” “Werner and Codruta should pack their bags” and “Codruta Kovesi will leave.”
Liviu Dragnea: Klaus Iohannis shepherds the deep state. We must say ‘enough’ to abuses and denunciations
In his speech in Victory Square, a speech in which he saluted “the deep state agents,” PSD President Liviu Dragnea said that the people who took to the street are “the people’s will, expressed by the law and the Constitution.” Dragnea defined the deep state as “a system that uses state institutions in an non-legitimate way that is parallel to rights and freedoms.” Likewise, referring to President Klaus Iohannis not seeing the protocols between institutions, Dragnea rhetorically asked whether “he has a problem with his eyesight or with the dossier.”
“I respectfully salute you, party members, but also those who are not members but have faith that the voice of the people must be heard outside Securitate’s propaganda, which wants to make us believe that we are few. You have assumed, in a dignified way, the right to freedom and democracy, and for that you deserve everyone’s applauses. Likewise, I salute – but this time with pity – all the deep state agents in the Square. Civilians or not, on orders or out of curiosity, I ask you to salute them; we’re numerous today, more numerous than expected by those who believed, who insulted us… but what the deep state must never forget is that we are very many, we are the people’s will, expressed by law and by the Constitution,” Liviu Dragnea said in his speech, news.ro informs.
The leader of PSD added that the deep state is “a system that uses state institutions in a non-legitimate way and in a manner that is parallel to rights and freedoms.”
“Three and a half years have passed since the Basescu regime left, but its instruments have remained, my dear. What are those instruments? The corrupt prosecutors have remained, you have seen them on television fabricating dossiers, falsifying evidence. The head of the DNA, you heard her asking the prosecutors for resounding names, asking them to open a dossier against the Premier, she probed the Government because it governs. You have seen [them] humiliating dozens of people who were then acquitted. The generals have remained, they are talking today through the voice of the Opposition. They act through their network of Securitate propaganda, through NGOs illegally set up. The undercover journalists have remained. You see them, pocket squares and all, you read them, you hear them lying every minute in their newspapers and on their televisions, but with none of them being able to tell a fiscal inspector what the source of their income is. The undercover magistrates have remained. You do not see them, and I wish with all my heart that you never get to meet them. The custom of using the intelligence services and the judiciary for political purposes has remained, namely of placing at the feet of the President the heads of his political adversaries,” Liviu Dragnea told the people that gathered in Victory Square.
The PSD leader also claimed that six million wiretapped Romanians, secret protocols between the intelligence services and the prosecutor’s offices, between the Securitate and the courts of justice, the use of blackmail and threats have also remained.
In the PSD leader’s opinion, President Klaus Iohannis is “shepherding” the “deep state” system.
“After Basescu, President Iohannis is now shepherding this system (the deep state – editor’s note). Without the deep state, he would not have won the lawsuit that all other mayors lost; without the deep state, the forgery he used to procure his houses would have ended up on the table of a criminal law judge by now. However, with the deep state behind him, Iohannis dares to threaten the Premier of Romania, to block Parliament and to disregard the CCR. And I ask you: what should we do? Should we stand idle? Should we allow them to make a mockery of this country? Should we watch how the Securitate is blocking the governance? Should we tremble with fear? Should we stand aside, and should other technocrats come? Should we no longer raise pensions and salaries? Should we leave the judiciary as Macovei arranged it? ‘No’ is the answer! We can no longer accept these things. We must say ‘stop,’ we must say ‘enough abuses,’ ‘enough denunciations,’ ‘enough Securitate,’ ‘enough Soviet-style investigations,’ ‘enough political police’! Enough!” Dragnea said, accompanied by the people in Victor Square.
“When he (Iohannis – editor’s note) says he does not see the secret protocols – does he have problems with his eyesight or with the dossier? When he says the deep state is a bad joke, do you think he lacks humour or that he has no choice?” Dragnea said at the rally in Victory Square.
He added that PNL leader Ludovic Orban should not be envied: “Let’s not envy Ludovic Orban. (…) He nominated Iohannis as presidential candidate 5 days after he was acquitted and now we wonder – did he by any chance ask someone from the PNL or someone from the DNA?”
Likewise, Dragnea said that “the deep state represents the terrible disease that covertly eats away at this country.”
“Let us not envy many like them, who believe that if they keep the word anticorruption in their mouth they will get away. They won’t get away. (…) They are using the deep state, they enjoy the so-called power that the deep state gives them, but they are in fact the pathetic tools of these Securitate people. It’s an abject brotherhood, a dangerous collusion, a contract that in fact wants to take democracy out of the game, this is the portrait of the deep state. We can call it any way – the invisible state, the subterranean state or simply the Securitate. No matter what we call it, it represents the terrible disease that covertly eats away at this country, this disease that has turned us against each other, that has radicalised society very much,” the PSD President added.