Bucharest, Romania. Large numbers of Romanian citizens gathered outside Romania’s government offices Wednesday to protest a move by lawmakers to pardon acts of corruption.
Hundreds of demonstrators waved Romanian, NATO, European Union and American flags, yelling: “We have to defend the country from thieves!” As numbers grew, the crowd blocked Victory Square, where the government offices are. There were smaller protests in the cities of Constanta, Cluj, Sibiu and Brasov across Romania.
At one point, protesters in Bucharest sang the national anthem “Wake up, Romanian!” turning on the lights on their mobile phones to accompany the singing, sharing their message of freedom, hope and love with the international press.
They protested shortly after a parliamentary legal committee approved a draft law that granted amnesty to people convicted of bribery and influence peddling. The move is a preliminary step before a full parliamentary vote to pardon corrupt political figures in the Romanian government.
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, a Social Democrat, said he did not support the proposed changes. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who is not a member of any party, said he was “unpleasantly surprised” by the vote. Which explains why the protestors are making corrupt Romanian leaders nervous.