Protesters gathered in front of the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest on Wednesday evening, expressing their disapproval of the PSD-ALDE Coalition’s proposals for changing the laws of justice, as well as of the methods they used to pass hundreds of amendments in the Chamber of Deputies during a 13-hour long plenary session on December 6th.
Protesters and opposition parties, particularly USR representatives, signalled serious issues with the fact that PSD-ALDE denied deputies the chance to actually debate each amendment, instead choosing to simply vote on them without any discussion. The opposition claimed that elected representatives didn’t even know what they were voting on as most of them had not received any reading materials on the proposed changes.
The entire day was marked by conflict as USR deputies tried to delay the adoption of amendments as well as the final vote on the first law the Coalition wants changed – the status of judges. They read each amendment on a loudspeaker after having their microphones cut off, they printed off posters with the word ‘thieves’ and held them up at the front of the chamber and tried various other methods of interrupting the vote.
The passing of amendments continued until close to midnight despite the delays, but the Chamber didn’t manage to cast a final vote, which made USR’s leader Dan Barna claim a “small and bitter victory” since it doesn’t necessarily mean that the law won’t be passed, but that it was only delayed by a few days.
PSD/ALDE representatives defended their actions and accused the opposition of manufacturing a scandal and not following the rules and procedures that the ruling Coalition itself had established for the session thanks to the large majority they hold.
Dan Barna argued that what happened on Wednesday in Parliament is a clear abuse and a serious threat to democracy.
USR Deputies were applauded as they walked out of the Parliament building by the few hundred protesters still present around 11 pm.
Ex-Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu (PNL) stated that the debates on the 700+ amendments “should have lasted 13 weeks, not 13 hours”.
Protests also took place in Cluj, Constanta, Sibiu and Iasi.
Photo: Adrian Ilincescu/ HotNews.ro