Romania: trial over police brutality at protest

Exactly five years after the brutal crushing of a mass anti-government demonstration in Bucharest on 10 August 2018, charges of abuse of office and unlawful use of violence have been brought against 16 police chiefs and officers who were involved in the crackdown. Commentators voice disappointment with the proceedings — also because not a single politician is on trial.

Spotmedia (RO) /

Only the minions are on trial

Not all those who bear responsibility for the violence have been charged, Spotmedia criticises:

“Carmen Dan, Interior Minister at the time and a member of [ex-party leader of the then as now ruling party PSD] Liviu Dragnea’s inner circle, does not appear in the proceedings. ... The trial focuses exclusively on the gendarmes who decided and executed the brutal crushing of the protests in Victory Square — protests which were against precisely that, namely an abusive regime. ... What’s more, many of the charges now being brought against those directly involved in the 10 August crackdown will likely be time-barred, making this act of justice all the more cynical.”

Magda Gradinaru
Deutsche Welle (RO) /

A chronically depressed nation

Many of the former protesters have withdrawn from activism out of sheer disappointment, writes journalist Cristian Ștefănescu in Deutsche Welle’s Romanian Service:

“I know Romanians in the diaspora who have not come back to the country since then and others who decided to leave the country for good. I’ve met demonstrators who have given up all activism since then. ... There is a picture taken by a drone that shows the crowd united in protest on 10 August 2018 — thousands of anonymous people who wanted to be part of a common voice. Today they can no longer find the strength to revolt. ... These are nothing but the symptoms of a nation with chronic depression.”

Cristian Ștefănescu