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Romania: protesters’ creative new way of trolling their under fire MPs

Romania: protesters’ creative new way of trolling their under fire MPs
By Chris Harris
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After waves of street demonstrations in Bucharest and beyond, protesters are now turning to Facebook and Google to get their message across.


Romania has seen waves of street demonstrations this year over claims the government is trying to undermine the fight against corruption.

Bucharest and other major cities have seen people object to draft laws aimed at decriminalising some corruption offences and weakening the power of the judiciary.

But with little change to show for their efforts, protesters are now turning to creative, new methods of getting their message across.

They have crowdfunded 4,500 euros to buy geo-localised adverts on Facebook and Google.

It means anyone surfing the web at Romania’s parliament building - or within one square kilometre - will receive the messages.

Organisers say the adverts are aimed at the building to attract the attention of MPs and senators from the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), the initiators of the draft legislation.

This message below reads ‘we’re watching you’ and is written over a darkened image of Romania’s blue, yellow and red flag.

Above, it says: "The people and the justice are urging you to stop."

The text underneath continues: “You’ve chosen to steal our future. Romanians won’t forget what you’ve done.”

Another has above the main image: “History will remember you as the protectors of thieves, because you voted to destroy the justice system.”

Then, underneath, it reads: “Romanians won’t forget what you’ve done. Are you proud of yourselves?”

Bianca Toma, programme director at the Romanian Centre for European Policies, who organised the campaign, told Euronews: “Usually the protesters, activists, NGOs and the leaders of different civic groups send their [protest] messages in the same social media bubble.

“This has somehow become disconnected from the official representatives, the MPs.

“We just needed a direct way of sending these messages straight from the street to the parliamentarians.”

The campaign, which kicked off on Friday, December 8, has raised its total from 440 donations.

Toma, addressing potential criticism that the initiative is interfering in the democratic process, added: “We are not contesting in any way the right of the parliament to legislate. But they have to take into account the fundamental values of the European Union. 

"They cannot just restore other laws. They cannot have another kind of state. So they have to stick to the rule of law. They are trying [to avoid sticking to the rule of law] by cancelling the independence of the judiciary. It’s not part of any government programme that has been promised to the people. It is our rights as citizens to tell them it’s not ok.”

It comes after protesters sent a letter to EU institutions warning that democracy in Romania was facing its gravest challenge since 1990.

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