Thanks to Davin Ellicson for sending us a link to this film, showing what happened on Saturday at Piata Matache, when police broke up an unauthorised demonstration against the demolition of the market hall. Amongst those arrested was Nicusor Dan, erstwhile candidate for mayor of Bucharest.
Now, we have written before about Piata Matache, and our opinion on the subject has not changed since: the derilict building – currently blocking the route of a much-needed boulevard – should make way. Construction of the boulevard (Uranus) will take a large amount of traffic away from the city centre (Unirii-Balcescu-Magheru-Ana Ipatescu is still the only real north-south route through Bucharest).
However, we do have some points we want to make.
Firstly, the Uranus project is stuck in an all too familiar Romanian Limbo. The project was authorised years ago, work began, a fair amount of progress was made, then the protests began, work ground to a halt and we arrive at today’s nonsensical situation whereby the project is blocked because nobody will take a final a decision on whether to continue with it or not. Meantime, important streets remain closed and traffic is worse than ever.
Secondly, we do not like the idea of protestors being arrested for the simple reason that their protest was ‘unauthorised.’ That way lies tyranny. Indeed, we find the whole idea of an ‘authorised protest’ to be ludicrous. Did the French revolutionaries have authorisation to storm the Bastille? Did Romanian revolutionaries have authorisation to storm the Central Committee building? We may not agree with those people who want to preserve Piata Matache, but we certainly do agree with their right to protest how and when they like.
Finally, would Nicusor and his NGO cronies not be better off concentrating their fire on more serious issues?