Romania’s justice system has failed to punish those who “committed crimes against its own citizens” during a violent ant-government protest, a lawmaker said Tuesday.
Liberal lawmaker Alexandru Muraru called for the case to be “urgently reopened.”
Hundreds of people were injured in the protest that was violently broken up by law enforcement officials.
On August 10, 2018, tens of thousands gathered outside the government headquarters in Bucharest to protest against moves by the Social Democrat-led government to water down anti-corruption legislation.
Tens of thousands demonstrated in other major cities across the country. It was one of many anti-government protests that took place from 2017-2019.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protest after some demonstrators tried to force their way into the government offices.
Police beat demonstrators, many of them unarmed. Some 450 were injured in the clashes and 70 were hospitalized, including 3 gendarmes.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz condemned the violence after an Austrian cameraman from the state broadcaster was beaten. Amnesty International and the European Commission also criticized the violence.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called the intervention “brutal” and “vastly disproportionate” to the action.
“The people who took to the streets with their families and children did so in the hope that we would never have to live in a society where people are abused by the state …. and politicians grant amnesties to absolve for their own unlawful behavior.” Mr Muraru said on Tuesday.
“Shocking scenes of batons, water cannons and tear gas used against tens of thousands of Romanians who were peacefully protesting to defend an independent justice system and attempts to exonerate corrupt politicians,” will remain in our memory.
“The guilty must pay… the images we all saw are historic evidence of unjustified and indiscriminate violence… against the elderly, women and children.”
The “repression of the Romanian state… against its own citizens …. is yet another testament that freedom and democracy need to be defended every day.”
Liviu Dragnea’s Social Democrats “almost took Romania off its pro-Western path.”
Mr Dragnea was the former strongman leader of the Social Democrats who was sent to prison in May 2019 for official misconduct. He was released last month.
“Our generation has the duty to fight for a fair justice system where nobody is above the law,” the statement said.