The protests that began on Sep. 1 are remarkably strong for Romania. Since their start, misinformation in the public space has been abundant: the main television channels originally failed to cover the protests despite their size; on Sep. 10, media wrongly announced that the draft law had been rejected by the Senate; and Ponta declared that the project could not go ahead against popular will, only to later express again support for the project.
In spite of this, protesters – who function according to a non-hierarchical structure and have no official leaders – have skillfully kept the public informed and engaged via Facebook. The weekly hours-long marches go through neighbourhoods with the goal of spreading the word about opposition to the project and showing that protesters are not hooligans as depicted on TV.
Their strategy seems to have worked since numbers this Sunday were bigger than ever. The first days of mobilisation brought mostly youth to the streets, but older participants and youth-parent couples are increasingly visible. After two weeks of well-mannered street actions, police presence on Sunday can be considered symbolic.
“It is very interesting that such a revolt began with a case of protecting the environment, but this is not only about the environment,” Claudiu Craciun, an active participant in the protests, told IPS. “It is also about the right of people to keep their properties, about our duty to safeguard a patrimony that belongs not only to us, but also to the world and to future generations.
“The Rosia Montana case – in which you see legislation custom made to serve the interests of a corporation – highlights some failures of both democratic institutions and of the economic system, capitalism in a broader sense,” Craciun added.