Romanian prime minister Viorica Dancila reportedly made a serious mistake during her discussion with the Social Democrat members of the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, September 26.
Talking about the violent incidents during the August 10 anti-government protest in Bucharest’s Victoriei Square, Dancila mentioned the woman gendarme savagely beaten by “protestants” (protestanti in Romanian) when she actually meant to say “protesters” (protestatari in Romanian). Dancila spoke in Romanian, so it’s possible that her mistake was not noticed by the foreign MEPs.
Romanian MEP Catalin Ivan, a member of the S&D group, was the first to write about this on Facebook. “I’ve just found from Viorica Dancila, in the plenum of the S&D group, that the woman gendarme was savagely beaten by protestants. I hope the translators understood that she was talking about protesters so that we don’t get into a religious conflict,” Ivan wrote.
An audio recording of Dancila’s mistake was presented by local news site Digi24.ro.
The Romanian PM ma de a two-day visit to Brussels this week, on September 25-26, where she met with the leaders of the main political groups in the European Parliament and had a discussion with the MEPs of the S&D group. The themes of these meetings were the violent incidents in Bucharest on August 10 and the justice reform in Romania. Next week, the European Parliament will hold a debate about rule of law in Romania and the August 10 incidents.
The brutal intervention of the gendarmes against the protesters in Bucharest’s Victoriei Square on August 10 had an echo abroad and many politicians in Brussels expressed their concern about the situation in Romania. Hundreds of protesters filed complaints against the gendarmes after they were beat for no reason or sprayed with tear gas during the intervention.
Meanwhile, the gendarmes said they were attacked by violent protesters, which determined their forceful intervention. One of the most controversial incidents on that evening was episode in which a woman gendarme and one of her colleagues were beaten by a group of protesters. It’s not clear why or how they remained alone in the middle of the protesters. On that evening, the Gendarmerie announced that the woman had suffered a cervical injury and that she was taken to the hospital in serious condition risking to remain paralyzed. Some say this is what determined the gendarmes in the square intervene more brutally against the protesters. However, the woman only suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital after a few days. When she was released, she reportedly ran to get away from the media, according to Digi24.ro.
The General Prosecutor’s office, which has been investigating the August 10 incidents, last week decided to prosecute the head of the Romanian Gendarmerie and his deputy as well as the head of the Bucharest Gendarmerie. The charges against them are abuse of power and use of forged documents to justify the intervention against the protesters.
Meanwhile, the ruling party’s leader Liviu Dragnea and interior minister Carmen Dan, said the prosecutors’ decision to investigate the Gendarmerie’s heads was an “intimidation action” against a fundamental state institution. Dragnea and prime minister Viorica Dancila claimed that the August 10 protests were aimed at taking down the government by force. The PSD leader also said the events were financed by external forces.
(Photo source: Gov.ro)