Romania protests: Voices from the street

Thousands demonstrating even after government repealed a decree that would have spared corrupt officials from jail.

Romania protest / Please Do Not Use
Thousands gathered for the eighth consecutive evening in Victory Square outside government offices [Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

Bucharest, Romania – Mass protests continue to rock Romania after the government’s decision to adopt an emergency decree that would have decriminalised official misconduct.

The government faces a no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday over the matter.

Thousands of Romanians demonstrated for the eighth day in a row on Tuesday – even though the government repealed the decree – saying they have completely lost trust in officials.

Organisers said they won’t back down until the people responsible for the decree are held accountable.

This is what protesters on the street are saying:

Bogdan, in his 30s, aeronautical engineer  
 [Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
 [Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

I came because I hope things will be more transparent and more fair.

I believe these protests can change something. That’s why I’m here.

Marian Parvu, 47, runs a construction firm  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

I don’t agree with what the government tried to do. We want a better Romania – without thieves, without traitors – and a new government with new, younger people, even if they come from the Social Democratic party.

Alexa, 32, English and Dutch teacher  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

First, I came here because of the decree and because I still believe we can live in a country without theft.

Second, because I hope these protests can have a long-term effect in mobilising people, in encouraging them to speak their mind and understand their vote matters and exercise their right next time.

Marius, 36, photo editor  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

I came because the unity that I saw during these protests is worth it. I’ve never experienced such energy, such unity among Romanians.

I go to demonstrations when I believe they can make a difference. And now we can make a difference if we hold on, if we resist in the street.

Alexandru, right, 38, and Iuliana, 38, both work for multinational companies  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

The decrees are abusive and we are fed up with the same people over the past 27 years, doing the same abuses and bending the law. It is too much.

Romanita Iovan, 52, fashion designer  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

I felt cheated, stolen from, and I am profoundly upset by the fact we are portrayed as being manipulated. No, the only manipulation comes from my conscience, from my adversity to theft, arrogance and immorality.

My 10-year-old son told me: “Mom, let’s go in the square. I too want to save my country.”

We need to make them understand we are people who think and feel, not puppets.

Gabriela Andrei, 54, designer  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

I’m very upset that the people in government thought about passing some legislation that not only decriminalised theft, but there are provisions that violate basic human rights.

Now they have repealed the decrees, but I do not have faith that they will not try something like this again. It’s hard to say anything about hope. If anything, I hope that things will be the way they should in a normal country.

Margareta, 73, retired  
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]
[Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera]

I cannot agree to releasing thieves from prison and letting them roam free, and I cannot agree to giving corrupt MPs a free ticket from criminal investigations.

I’m ashamed because they want to transform this country into the domain of thieves. As long as I can endure the cold, I will not back down.

Romanian government decriminalises corruption

Source: Al Jazeera