Massive Attack’s unfinished sympathy for Romania’s anti-corruption protesters

Credit: Facebook/Adrian Raileanu
Credit: Facebook/Adrian Raileanu
By Chris Harris
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Massive Attack delighted its Romanian audience by displaying anti-government slogans during a concert in Bucharest.


Massive Attack delighted its Romanian audience by displaying anti-government slogans during a concert in Bucharest.

The trip-hop band, whose co-founder Robert Del Naja is known for his politics and activism, put up messages that were a nod to the country’s anti-corruption fight.

Romania has seen regular demonstrations in recent years amid claims the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) are trying to weaken the fight against corruption.

Bucharest-based Adrian Raileanu, who attended the gig in a Roman arena on Tuesday evening, told Euronews: “The public went crazy [when the slogans were displayed], everybody was cheering.

“We know that Massive Attack tends to project the latest news from every country they go to, and everybody was expecting that moment because we needed to know if what is going on in Romania at the moment transcends the Romanian media."

“It’s of tremendous importance for us to feel that we still have a connection with the rest of Europe, and bands like Massive Attack — or Arcade Fire a couple of weeks earlier — acknowledge our struggle with what we call corruption."

“I think it’s a sign of professionalism for a band to know the struggles of their public.”

1. 'Thieves by the night'

This is a reference to the government's passing of a controversial emergency decree at night which aimed to decriminalise some corruption offences.

Credit: Facebook/Adrian Raileanu

2. 'Ban convicted people from public office'

This is a reference to a current petition that is hoping to get the constitution changed to prevent convicted people from serving in public office.

Credit: Facebook/Adrian Raileanu

3. Dragnea: in 2019 the pension pot in Romania will reach 1,299 lei (€281)

This is a nod to Liviu Dragnea, leader of the ruling Social Democrats, who allegedly tries to capture the votes of the elderly by promising bigger pensions.

Credit: Facebook/Adrian Raileanu

4. Amending the public budget: Bucharest City Hall grants another 10 million lei (more than €2 million) to Redemption Cathedral

This is a reference to authorities in Bucharest who allegedly invest public money in a city cathedral in order to secure the votes of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Credit: Facebook/Adrian Raileanu

The concert comes amid other civil disobedience against the government.

A driver turned his car into a political message by using as his number plate an obscenity paired with PSD.

The registration plate, which roughly translates as “Fuck PSD” has repeatedly drawn the attention of the police, according to photos posted on social media, but the car owner appears not to have broken Romanian law.

Protesters in Cluj then reportedly used a tractor to write the same message in a field.

After the police intervened it was replaced with another slogan, ‘We See You’, which is often used at anti-corruption protests in Romania.

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