Thousands of Romanians on Sunday paid their own silent tribute to the 64 people who died one year ago in a nightclub fire in the capital Bucharest.
The tragedy at the time sparked a wave of protests against corruption, the lack of accountability and neglect by the authorities over the enforcement of security regulations.
Journalist Cristian Matei was in the club on the night of the fire. He said there were lots of people working within state-run institutions that didn’t do their job. For example, in the local administration, but also the state building inspectorate.
Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis laid his own wreathe to the victims and made a short address:
“The politicians who have not understood the message (of the people) will slowly but surely be brushed away, off the public scene. Romania is no longer today the Romania we knew one year ago,” he said.
The fire had broken out when fireworks used during a concert by rock band ignited non-fireproofed insulation foam. It triggered a stampede towards the single-door exit tapping many inside.
Along with the 64 deaths another 100 people were injured. Bucharest officials had given the club an operating licence despite knowing it didn’t have a safety permit