Tens of thousands of people are still protesting all over the country against the government’s new emergency decrees. Reports say, more than 150,000 people gathered in the capital city, Bucharest and in the bigger cities the numbers reach 20,000 in Brasov and Sibiu; 30,000 in Cluj Napoca and 10,000 in Iasi.
This was a hard and strange week for Romania, as basically two abnormal orders were issued. The first, passed earlier this week could free people sentenced to jail for a period that is shorter than five years in relation to certain crimes and halve prison terms for those with young children, pregnant women, or those over 60.
The leftist government, whose Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) was voted in December, argues that this order is needed to reduce overcrowding in the prisons.
However, critics say that he is trying to release allied politicians convicted of corruption. According to The Guardian , prosecutors say that ‘Hundreds of officials have been imprisoned in recent years, and more than 2,000 files are under investigation in relation to abuse of office’.
The second one, published late Tuesday night discriminate some offences, including official wrongdoing in cases where the monetary damage is less than 200,000 lei (£38,000; €44,000; $48,000).
The leaders of the EU state members met earlier today in Valletta, Malta at an informal European council. According to the Romanian president the leaders expressed their concern about the Romanian situation and they hope everything will be done in order to remain steady in the path of rule of law. They showed their admiration to the Romanians’ commitment and strong voice.
When reporters asked about his opinion, he said:
“I trust my people, I believe in Romania. So, in the end I’m convinced that we will find good solutions, the rule of law has to prevail, the European values have to prevail. And this is what I believe will happen”.
Six allied states: the U.S., Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada express their anxiety in a letter arriving from the United State’s embassy towards the imprudent new laws.
“We, Romania’s international partners and allies, express our profound concern at the actions of the Romanian Government on the night of January 31, 2017, which have undermined Romania’s progress on rule of law and the fight against corruption over the past ten years.”
They also expressed that:
“This act can only undermine Romania’s standing in the international community and risks damaging partnerships that are based on common values, inherent in the guiding principles of the EU and NATO.”
Romanians are deeply disappointed, full of anger and fear. Despite the freezing cold they go out and have their say. Some are requiring the resignation of the new government, impersonating a line from the famous Romanian narrative ‘Lăpușneanul’, shouting: “We want Dragnea’s head” (original:’Capul lui Dragnea vrem’). Others demand the new decrees to be invalidated.