Activism

Half a Million Romanian Protesters Push Government to Scrap Corruption Bill

Romania has seen six days of the biggest protests since the fall of Ceausescu.

Photo Credit: Associated Press / YouTube

During the largest anti-government action in nearly two decades, some 500,000 Romanian protesters packed Revolution Square in Bucharest late Sunday, demanding the government repeal a bill that would have decriminalized many politicians' abuses of power.

"I do not want to divide Romania. It can't be divided in two," Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said at a news conference before the bill's repeal

But many are now pushing for the government of PM Sorin Grindeanu to resign. 

"We don't believe you; we won't give up," about 200,000 Romanians chanted once the bill was scrapped.

“It’s not about one decree; it’s about a way of doing politics. Seriously, we’re tired of the same old things. We’re gathered here all together, to change not this council of politics (government); it’s about the people, not about a small amount of guys making laws for their benefit. That’s it," Alexandru, a teacher from Bucharest, told Euronews. 

“They’re trying to escape conviction. In my opinion, this is what it’s all about because they don’t want to talk to the people. They don’t want a dialogue," actor and activist Tudor Chirila explained

Sunday marked the sixth consecutive day of protests. 

"We've never seen any protests like this since the fall of the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu," Al Jazeera reporter David Chater reported from Bucharest, before turning to some of the protesters still dissatisfied with the emergency measures. 

"It's clear that this government team has been a disaster, at least in public communication, so they have lost the trust of the people and also a part of their supporters, so, yeah, I would expect that they would... insist that the government stepped down," Laurentiu Colintineanu, also a journalist, told Chater. 

Chater also spoke with Tedy Ursuleanu, a victim of the devastating October 2015 nightclub fire that killed 64 people.

"My faith in the government is way below zero. There is no more trust in this government; we don't believe anything they say," Ursuleanu said. 

"The responsible authorities have been bribed to turn a blind eye to clear breaches of the fire regulations," Chater noted.

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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