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Protests in Romania against the law that eased corruption penalties with the slogan: “Rezist”

Chants, irony, banners with appeals for democracy and justice are the characterising features of the rallies that have been ongoing in the East European Country for days. Young people, workers, families with children, took to the streets to protest against the – eventually scrapped – bills tackling matters of justice and corruption. The Churches’ appeal to non-violence and a strong reminder to politicians: “serve the population!”

Bucarest, 5 febbraio: proteste di piazza contro il governo

They call for a democratic Romania based on values; a government that will guide the Country with honesty and transparency. They want upright politicians, without a criminal record, dedicated to serving the citizens and not focused on protecting their own interests. They request justice for all, respect and responsibility. The thousands and thousands of citizens that took to the streets of Romania for over a week have a mean age of 30. They have no leader and got organized on social networks. The protests, that unfolded in Bucharest on Sunday, January 22, are an outraged response to the actions of the government in matters of justice, which since January 31 developed into

A form of popular resistance, whose common slogan is “#rezist”, I resist.

In Victoria Square, Bucharest, in front of the Government’s building, people come and ago every day, from the early morning hours until midnight. Most protesters obviously crowd into square in the evening, after work, and in the weekend. Their resistance on the streets, even with below-zero temperatures, made an impression, it rose questions, attracted attention, and finally, it reawakened the entire Country. Increasing numbers of Romanians took to the streets in sign of protest in over one hundred cities throughout Romania and abroad – in Denmark, England, Ireland, Greece, Norway, the Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, USA, Czech Republic, Belgium, Hungary, Canada, Israel, Japan, Portugal, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.
 Among the protesters figure students, youths, workers, pensioners, families with children, including toddlers. In groups – relatives, coworkers, fellow-students, friends – or individually, the protestors has proven to be peaceable, well-behaved, happy, and ironic people. It becomes evident when you walk near them, in the messages on the banners they carry that are rich in imagination, intelligence, creativity and irony. It’s the revolt of common sense. Every evening they sing Romania’s National anthem. Last Sunday, February 5, over half million people took to the streets nationwide, people gathered in Victoria Square, Bucharest, and in the adjacent areas, simultaneously lighting the torches on their mobile phones: an ocean of light inundated not only the streets. It illuminated the hearts and the soul of an entire Country. In the meantime, the party in power, (the government, that took office about a month ago, is headed by Social-Democrat Klaus Sorin Grindeanu) and the President of the Republic Klaus Johannis (a conservative from the National Liberal Party) blame each other for provoking the protests. After having passed a law renamed Corruption Bill by the media the Romanian government repealed it last Sunday under the pressure of escalating protests. In a parliamentary address delivered February 7 the head of State said – after MPs from the majority coalition had left the Assembly Hall –:“Romania needs a government that exercises its functions in a transparent manner, which works in daylight and does not hide taking advantage of the darkness of the night. The government is requested to make good laws for Romania, not to solve a set of political problems.”Meanwhile, the protesters announced large demonstrations during the coming weekend on social networks. The religious representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches invited the faithful to gather in prayer, to those protesting calmly they invited to avoid all forms of violence, and called upon political leaders to assume their responsibilities for the good of Romanian society.

It started snowing again on Victory Square, covered by a thin layer of snow. In the early morning hours, two young people holding the flag of Romania wrote in the snow in large letters: Rezist!

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