Thousands march for Szeklerland autonomy in Romania

Over 2,000 people marched in the north-central city of Târgu Mureş for the autonomy of the Szeklerland (Tinutul Secuiesc) over the weekend. This is much lower than the 40,000 participants expected at the event.

Szeklerland represents a group of three counties in central Romania, namely Harghita, Covasna and Mures, where a large part of the population is Hungarian. These counties have been asking for autonomy for many years.

The march was organized by the Szekler National Council. MEP Tokes Laszlo, Jokin Bildarratz Sorron, a representative of the Basque Nationalist Party, Jordi Xucla i Costa, a Spanish deputy representing the Catalan European Democrat Party, representatives of the Hungarian Democrat Union (UDMR) and of the Popular Party of Magyars in Transylvania were among those attending the event, Agerpres reported.

The participants, who chanted calls for autonomy, displayed a giant Szekler flag and marched on the streets of Târgu Mureş to the headquarters of the Prefecture. Here they deposited a petition calling for the autonomy of the Szeklerland. They also requested that the Government starts talks about the statute of the Szeklerland with “the legitimate representatives of the Szekler people,” such as the Szekler National Council and the local authorities in the region.

The march took place on March 10, also the Day of Szekler Freedom.

At the beginning of the year, the leaders of the three political parties representing the Hungarian minority in Romania signed a joint statement asking for the territorial autonomy of the Szeklerland. It was followed by a severe reaction of then prime minister Mihai Tudose, who said that if the Szekler flag will wave on institutions in the Szeklerland, “they [e.n. the residents of the area] will all wave next to it.” Some interpreted the statement as a threat with hanging. The former PM later apologized for the statement.

The Hungarian minority in Romania is the largest ethnic one in the country, of around 1.2 million people, according to the 2011 census. Many of them live in the Harghita, Covasna and Mures counties.

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(Photo: Tamás Sándor Facebook Page)

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