UPDATE 01.04: Gendarmerie to notify Court of Justice for two stolen guns during violent
A few thousand people still in Victoriei Square chanting: “We are not leaving”
UPDATE: 00.40: Gendarmes entered Victoriei Square on horses. Protesters applauded ironically and yelled: “Shame!”
UPDATE 00.18: A young woman gendarme is in critical condition at the hospital with the risk of remaining paralyzed after being caught in an ambuscade during the forced evacuation
UPDATE 00.03: Several fires in Victoriei Square provoked by instigators; people trying to save their cars from burning. Authorities intervened with a water cannon to stop the fire from spreading
UPDATE 23.43: 100,000 protesters refuse to leave, after being chased out of Victoriei Square by law enforcement.
Around 450 people injured
UPDATE 23.08: Gendarmerie evacuates Victorei Square by force! Violent clashes between protesters and Police, extreme violence.
UPDATE 23.00: Romanian Police activates Red Alert Level 4. All policemen called on duty to intervene in Victoriei Square
Water cannons were pointed at the protesters in front of the Government building
UPDATE 22.19: Military Police Force got an order to evacuate Victoriei Square.
People in Victoriei Square say gendarmes are throwing tear gas containers randomly towards the group of largely peaceful protesters.
UPDATE 21.30: Around 172 injured in violent clashes, according to authorities.
Around 80,000 people protested in front of the Government building, on Friday evening, in what was expected to be the biggest rally of Romanians from the Diaspora.
Clashes between groups of protesters and gendarmes were recorded for brief periods throughout the day. Initially, the gendarmes used tear gas to prevent a group of protesters from attempting to reach the front garden of the government building. In total, over 100 people received medical care. Six gendarmes were also injured.
People also took to streets in other Romanian cities to express their support for the protest in Bucharest. Rallies were held in Cluj Napoca, Sibiu Timisoara and Iasi. Tens of thousands of people were out to protest in these cities. The rallies in Sibiu and Cluj Napoca alone recorded more than 15,000 participants.
Earlier, authorities took two men to the police station. They were attending the protest in Victoriei Square. One man was taken in for disrupting the public order, while another one had with him several paint sprays and joined the protest, despite warning from the gendarmes. The gendarmes say that football hooligans also joined the protests and this might explain the burst of violent incidents.
The protesters are calling for the resignation of the PSD-ALDE government led by Viorica Dancila. They also want snap elections and tougher jail sentences for corrupt officials. Romanians working and living in Western Europe, Canada and the US are among the people that arrived in Bucharest to make their voices hear. A group of people also gathered at Universitatii Square before starting a march to Victoriei Square.
“Justice, not corruption” and “You are a party of thieves, corrupt and mafioso”, shouted the people rallied in front of the government.
People organized themselves on Facebook to get to the protest. One group of protesters traveled by car from the UK and stopped in some of the largest Romanian cities on road to Bucharest. Protests are also scheduled in large European cities where there are big communities of Romanians.
One million people are expected to attend the protest, according to various announcements posted on Facebook. It’s unclear if this figure will be reached.
Video of people gathered in Victoriei Square. All video rights belong to journalist Claudia Pirvoiu, Hotnews.