Romanians protest virus restrictions as cases soar

Photo: AP

Marchers took to the streets on Saturday in the Romanian capital of Bucharest to protest restrictive measures against the spread of Covid-19 even as new daily infections and deaths rose in the European Union nation, AP reported.

About 1,000 people converged on Victory Square and University Square, expressing frustration with an earlier curfew and shop closures that took effect at the end of March. Many demonstrators waved tri-color Romanian flags and chanted “Freedom!” and “Down with the government!”

“We came to fight against this state of alert that buries all our rights and freedoms,” Dumitru Balan, leader of the civic movement Action for the Nation, told the AP. “We do not agree with compulsory vaccination, with wearing a mask on our faces … the quarantine of cities, online schooling, the closure of churches, playgrounds, restaurants and shops," he said.

Romania does not have compulsory vaccinations.

The protest was held on the same day that Romania passed the milestone of having 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. Hospital intensive care units are struggling to cope with the record demand of just under 1,500 Covid-19 patients and 12,000 others are in other wards.

“There are now very severe patients admitted in our clinical ward that normally would require intensive care … we don’t have enough ICU beds available and patients are waiting with sub-optimal care,” Dragos Zaharia, a pneumologist at Marius Nasta Institute, told the AP. “We are at risk of being accused of malpractice."

The protesters halted outside Cotroceni Palace, where President Klaus Iohannis resides, and called for an early election.

“I think Romania has a perfect storm of conditions that create this climate of anti-restriction protests,” Dani Sandu, a sociologist affiliated with the European University Institute, told the AP. “Romania is a society with low levels of trust in public institutions."

 On Friday evening, authorities transferred patients in the middle of the night from Bucharest’s Foisor Orthopedic Hospital to other facilities as it was turned into a Covid-19 hospital.

An official from the governing National Liberal Party, Ben Oni Ardelean, called the situation a “circus” and said he will urge that Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu be fired.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

Similar articles

  • Hundreds dismiss the Dutch “corona pass”

    Hundreds dismiss the Dutch “corona pass”

    Hundreds protesters marched on Saturday in the streets of major cities in the Netherlands in a protest against the introduced "corona pass" which is equivalent to proof of Covid-19 vaccination and became compulsory to get into bars, restaurants, theatres and other public venues, Reuters reported. Only few hours after the new requirements took effect, the government of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte fired a deputy minister who had publicly questioned the measures.

    39
  • EC urges Poland to let Frontex to Belarus border

    EC urges Poland to let Frontex to Belarus border

    The European Commission urged Poland to allow officers from Frontex to guard the Border with Belarus and thus save the lives of migrants. At least three migrants died on the Polish side of the border and one more just inside Belarus earlier this week while they were making attempts to cross into Poland, Reuters elaborated. The causes of death have not been officially revealed. A fifth death of an Iraqi man just inside Poland, probably from a heart attack was reported earlier on Friday.

    42
  • Lava spills again from Cumbre Vieja volcano

    Lava spills again from Cumbre Vieja volcano

    The volcano eruption on Spanish island La Palma is far from over as renewed rivers of hot lava spilled again provoking new evacuation of thousands of people. The new eruption of Cumbre Vieja volcano endangers the banana crop on the island in addition to several buildings in the near villages, Reuters reported.

    38