Weekly overview in pictures: Final sentences in Colectiv case | High turnout for Night of Museums | Center for Ukrainian children opens in Bucharest
Two high profile cases came to a conclusion last week when final sentences were handed out in the 2015 Colectiv club fire file and in the corruption trial against former Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu. Meanwhile, as cultural events are making a comeback after two years of pandemic restrictions, the public all over the country turned out in high numbers for the Night of Museums. More of the May 9 – May 15 week’s highlights in photos below.
One event that made the headlines last week was the final sentence served to District 5 mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone in the file concerning the 2015 fire at Colectiv club. After six years of court proceedings, the Bucharest Court of Appeal sentenced Piedone to four years in jail for his indirect responsibility in the Colectiv fire of October 30, 2015. Sixty-four people died following a fire that erupted during a rock concert that was taking place at the club. The club didn’t have all the required legal permits and didn’t comply with fire safety regulations. The final sentence is lower than the initial conviction ruled by the Bucharest Court for Piedone, which was eight and a half years. Piedone was the mayor of Bucharest’s District 4 from 2008 until November 2015, when he resigned due to public pressure following the Colectiv fire.
Jail sentences were also issued for the club owners, the two technicians who set up the fireworks at the rock concert, and the two firefighters who were supposed to have checked the club met all the safety regulations.
Also last week, former Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in jail for corruption. He was charged with bribery, setting up an organized criminal group and abuse of office. The decision of the Bucharest Court of Appeal is final. It is also higher than the initial conviction of 5 years and four months ruled in May 2019. The former mayor has been added to the list of fugitives wanted by the Romanian Police as Police officers could not locate him after the Court’s decision.
This year’s edition of the Night of Museums, the yearly event that sees museums and other cultural venues open their doors to visitors at night, attracted a high number of visitors. It was the first post-pandemic edition organized without any restrictions, and the public enjoyed the many options available.
According to preliminary data available on the morning of Monday, May 16, a public of 321,053 visited 121 of the 260 participating venues, according to a release of the National Museum Network. Bucharest museums welcomed 82,629 visitors in 32 of the 64 participating venues. Dragoş Neamu, the coordinator of the Cultural Projects and International Relations Department of the National Museum Network, told Agerpres the high number of visitors was due both to the event returning in full after the pandemic break and the free access offered.
The Deloitte Foundation and World Vision opened on May 11 a center for educational activities for Ukrainian children and counseling for their mothers in Bucharest. The center, located in Tei Student Sports and Cultural Complex, is meant to provide educational and recreational activities for Ukrainian children, as well as psychological, legal and occupational counseling for their mothers. It follows the Child Friendly Spaces model developed by World Vision based on an international methodology, implemented in several areas of the globe where refugees live.
A second similar center, located in the fifth district of the Capital, is under construction and will open this summer.
To mark both the Royalty Day and the National Independence Day in Romania, the Royal Train, carrying the members of the Romanian royal family, undertook a symbolic journey on May 10. The train made stops in Ploiești, Buzău, Brăila, and Galați. In Galați, some 2,000 people attended the event and greeted the royal family, according to a release on behalf of the royal family.
Bucharest’s National Arena hosted this past weekend a large pet adoption fair. Dogs from the shelters of the Animal Protection Authority (ASPA) and cats from the Territorial Veterinary Center of District 2 and the association TNR were offered for adoption at the event, attended by veterinarians and NGO representatives who offered the public information and Bucharest mayor Nicușor Dan.
Cotroceni Palace, the seat of the Romanian Presidency, was lit up in the colors of the Ukrainian flag on May 9, Europe’s Day. President Klaus Iohannis posted a photo of this on Twitter with the message Stand with Ukraine.
A day later, on May 10, when Romania celebrates its National Independence Day, Cotroceni Palace was lit up in the colors of the Romanian flag.
(Opening photo: Nicusor Dan Facebook Page)