Romania – On Tuesday, 21 December, George Simion‘s Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), a nationalist party, organized a demonstration in Bucharest to protest against the proposed health passport called the “green certificate” (certificatul verde) in Romania. The protest was marred by several incidents, including one involving demonstrators breaking into the Senate’s courtyard.
“Freedom without green pass!”
The objective of the demonstration, which brought together some 2,000 people in front of the Romanian parliament, was to protest against the health measures taken to fight the Covid pandemic, which Nicolae Ciucă’s new coalition (PNL, PSD and UDMR) intends to further tighten, but also to protest against the bill making health passports mandatory in Romania, a move George Simion considers “unconstitutional” and “senseless”.
During the protest, some 300 demonstrators managed to break through the gendarmerie cordon protecting the building and burst into the Senate courtyard, and two diplomatic vehicles – one American and one Japanese – were damaged during the scuffles.
A peaceful gathering
Despite this incident, the head of the Bucharest gendarmerie, Cătălin Stegăroiu, considers that “the rally was peaceful and the situation was under control”. Stegăroiu explained that the protesters had entered the Senate courtyard with the help of parliamentary vehicles, pointing to the AUR MPs and their staff:
“This demonstration was organized and carried out by a political party in the Romanian Parliament together with other civic organisations, without anyone taking responsibility and without being declared in accordance with the legal framework in force, which is regrettable.”
Stegăroiu further clarified that the gendarmes yielded to the protesters’ pressure in order not to put them in danger, and an investigation is being carried out “to identify the persons [responsible] and punish them according to the legal framework in force”.
USR calls for resignation of interior minister
For his part, the leader of the USR (Save Romania Union), Dacian Cioloș, has called George Simion a “danger to Romania” and an “irresponsible populist”, and he has called for Interior Minister Lucian Bode (PNL) to resign, while Senate Speaker and former Prime Minister Florin Cîțu (PNL) has talked of an “attack on the health of Romanians”, saying that “vaccination and the green certificate are the most effective weapons against the virus”.