Protest against judicial reform: Romanians up in arms

The protests against the judicial reform in Romania continue. In Bucharest alone 70,000 people took part in a march in Bucharest on Saturday, galvanised into action by the most recent government reshuffle, which saw the appointment of a new prime minister who is reputedly against a major crackdown on corruption. Some observers are euphoric about the protests; others are concerned that it could trigger a new wave of emigration.

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Revista 22 (RO) /

Revolution of the young unstoppable

The change coming to Romania is unstoppable, philosopher Andrei Cornea believes in Revista 22:

“The revolution is already in full swing. It is the revolution of the 'rezist' generation ['rezist' means 'resist', 'don't give up', and has become a slogan of the protests]. This generation is marching through all the country's cities despite the snow - not to demand higher pay but for non-material values: for an independent judiciary, for a state where the rule of law prevails, for the removal of the corrupt from power. They are not demonstrating because they have been paid to or manipulated, or out of ignorance, as the dumb PSD propaganda is trying to tell us. They are demonstrating because they have understood the value of freedom, because they have an ideal and a conviction. And precisely that is what makes their revolution unstoppable.”

Hotnews (RO) /

Middle class turning its back on the country

The current political situation in Romania has sparked a new wave of emigration, Hotnews points out:

“The massive emigration after 2000 above all concerned the working class and the rural population - the victims of de-industrialisation so to speak. Now what we're seeing is mass emigration of the middle class: entrepreneurs, white-collar workers, freelancers. For years they've been hit where it hurts most: their economic freedom has been curtailed, they need an independent and strong judiciary that is not being permanently undermined by the [governing social-democratic] PSD. ... Apart from the large companies, which can cope with the continual changes to legislation and taxation, all the other economic players are distraught.”

Deutsche Welle (RO) /

Resistance is losing force

The people who took to the streets on Saturday won't achieve anything, Deutsche Welle's Romanian section writes:

“The protest has lost its impact because its potential political ally - president Iohannis - has approved the appointment of a new PSD government. The heterogeneous character of the demonstrators, their vague message and their unclear goals also ensured that the protest on Saturday quickly lost momentum. Because no one is tapping into the protest mood and using it to gain further support. ... Ex-prime minister Dacian Cioloș [independent, prime minister from the end of 2015 to the start of 2017] said something very revealing on the day the government stepped down: 'I believe we must transform our disappointment over such situations into the ability to offer alternatives through facts.'”

Contributors (RO) /

Day X will come for those in power

The demonstrators will win in the long term, journalist Claudia Postelnicescu writes on blog portal Contributors:

“The bad news for autocrats and local barons is that the number of those who don't want to submit to their values and never will is rising daily. ... History is against them, not for them. Things repeat themselves for a while but then they change irreversibly. ... Those Romanians who have understood that their voice and their civic commitment are indispensable for a healthy democracy don't want a relapse to the times when the country was dominated by local tyrants. Machiavellianism works for a while. But Day X will come.”