The war of words between politicians escalates, following last Friday’s violent street clashes
A harmful influence, which fuels conflicts and persistently and deliberately induces discord in the Romanian society, disregarding and overstepping his constitutional powers. This is how the Social Democratic Party depicts the President Klaus Iohannis, in a harsh message that further strains the already tense relationship between the ruling party and the head of state.
The Social Democrats accuse the President, whom they dub “the Divider,” of daring to encourage the anarchic, anti-governmental and anti-Power street protests. There is no doubt, they go on, although without producing evidence for their claims, that Iohannis’ political supporters were involved in organising the protests, encouraged harsh and obscene rhetoric and attitudes, and some of them even predicted and plotted the street violence.
The Social Democrats believe that the President’s request for an investigation into the riot police response on Friday is aimed at humiliating and scaring the gendarmes into submission, weakening the determination of institutions that are vital to protecting public order.
In response, Klaus Iohannis addressed the citizens, reiterating the opinion he had expressed shortly after Friday’s street clashes, namely that the gendarmes’ intervention was blatantly disproportionate compared to the conduct of the vast majority of the protesters. Civic participation was severely punished with tear gas, water cannons and excessive brutality, Klaus Iohannis argued. Violence and the brutal repression of protesters are unacceptable under any circumstances, and attacking innocent people, journalists, women and children is unimaginable in an EU member state, the President said. The Social Democrat’s chaotic and irrational governing, with controversial and anti-constitutional regulations and with attacks against magistrates, is now followed by repressive conduct, Iohannis says:
Klaus Iohannis: “Those who seek to crush the judiciary and the fight against corruption wanted a diversion, to build unnecessary and false tension within society. What will happen next, if this government continues to treat its own citizens like this, if it continues to resort to violent repression against those who do not want Romania thrown back into the past?”
Tens of participants in Friday’s protests filed criminal complaints against riot police, and prosecutors extended their investigations for misdeeds ranging from abuse of office to misconduct. They also investigate whether the gendarmes left behind two of their colleagues, who were unprotected and were beaten by hooligans.
Fortunately, the street violence, reminding people of the struggles to reconstruct Romanian democracy in the first years after the fall of communism, did not occur the following days. But the political disputes that it has triggered are only beginning.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)