A draft of an emergency ordinance of the Romanian government (to amend the Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, decriminalizing the abuse of power) and a bill for pardon of detained persons, sparked the anger of people. Sunday gathered to protest about 40,000 people in Bucharest. Monday and Tuesday were fewer. It seemed that the protests will turn off by itself. But the decision made by the Romanian Government for approval, in the middle of the night, without any legal approval and without prior notice of this intention, of the emergency ordinance, and its publication in the Official Gazette, managed to arouse the anger of people across the country.
In the morning there were only a few hundred people in front of the government building, chanting “DNA, DNA, to pick you up” (DNA is National Anticorruption Directorate), “Thieves, thieves”, “Down with the Government”.
Around noon, it was reaching a thousand people. There were chanting “Anticipated election”, “Night thieves”, “Rats”, “Romania, wake up!”. The demonstrators start to gather in Victoria Square, where it is the headquarters of the Romanian government.
Protesters ask for the resignation of the Government and bearing placards with “We do not recognize the laws of mobsters. Resignation!”, “I refuse this abuse,” “We do not give up”, “PSD, the red plague” (PSD is Social Democratic Party). The drivers passing by honking in solidarity with them.
At 6 in the evening the protesters reach approx. 10,000, many with small children in their arms or by hand with children. Gendarmerie forces are preparing for confrontations. They install fences. The chantings against the government and PSD (the party that won recent elections and formed the government) multiply, : “Criminal Government, social danger,” “Without amnesty, it’s epidemic, it’s red plague”, “The assassin government of democracy”, ” Mafia is in Government”, “Love of country is measured in the street.” They make noise with trumpets and drums, waved Romanian flags.
At 21.00 the demonstrators reach 80,000 persons.
At 22.00 the number of demonstrators is estimated to between 100,000 and 150,000 people in Bucharest and approx. 300,000 across the country. “Repeal, then leave! If not, you risk!”, others shouted “Every day, here we are!”, “Down with corruption!”, “No amnesty, no pardon,” “Dragnea not forget, Romania is not your”. Many placards with slogans against the government. They demand the resignation of the Government, repeal the emergency ordinance, and early elections. The national anthem is sung.
At 22.45, several organized groups, who until then had drunk, come into action. With face masks, they begin to throw firecrackers and smoke bombs at gendarmes. It is believed that many of these belong to the Bucharest football galleries. The peaceful protesters are separated themselves, by chanting and physically, by those groups. Security forces reacted with tear gas. They appeal to protesters to leave the area. Security forces are grouped and tried to isolate the groups of violent people who are pushed out of the square.
23.30: Two protesters and two policemen injured in the violence.
24.00: The gendarmes were able to take control. The protesters began to leave the Victory Square.
Today was a critical mass for demonstrators to get what they chanted. But time was too short. Will they come back tomorrow?