Romania’s protesters soldier on – but what keeps them going?

Six things to know about Romania's protest movement against a controversial bill. The law was proposed to overlook bribes under $48,000 – and it led to nationwide protests.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters hold effigies dressed as prisoners and topped with thPe faces of the leader of Romania's leftist Social Democrat arty (PSD) Liviu Dragnea and other members of the party, during a demonstration in Bucharest, Romania, February 3, 2017.

The bill was ditched, but the protests go on. Romanians want the government to step down.

Photo: Reuters

1. More than a half million people demonstrated in the capital of Bucharest against a bill that would have spared corrupt politicians from prosecution. The law was initially passed – and then was repealed on Sunday. But that hasn’t been enough to restore confidence in the one-month-old government.

Photo: AFP

2. The cabinet of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu enraged voters when it quietly approved an emergency decree that would have decriminalised several graft offences on January 31. The head of the ruling Social Democrat Party, Liviu Dragnea, is one of many facing such charges.

Photo: Getty Images

3. Dragnea was barred from serving in government – or becoming prime minister – after being convicted of voter fraud last year and is currently on trial for abuse of power, an allegation he denies. If the bill had not been repealed, Dragnea would have escaped prosecution.

Photo: AFP

4. “The demonstrators are young and predominantly middle class, organising online, using humour,” an artist, 37-year-old Andreea Chirica, told the LA Times. “They have started to think, ‘Maybe I can do something to change this country.’” Demonstrators created formations to represent the colours of their national flag. Protesters said the bill was tailor-made to grant amnesty to government officials convicted or accused of abusing their position.

Photo: AFP

5. “The public’s scepticism is well-founded. Romania's Social Democratic Party (PSD), which leads the three-party coalition government, has long sought to de-fang the judiciary: in 2013 it attempted to neuter the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) by cutting its budget, while in 2014 it tried to implement ‘super immunity’ for parliamentarians,” an EUCFR report said.

Photo by: AFP

6. Protesters hold signs that reads demisia – Romanian for resignation. Some want snap elections, having lost faith in their current government.

TRTWorld and agencies