One week of protests: what’s going on in Romania?

For over a week now, the people of Romania have been out in the streets to protest against the construction of an open-pit gold mine and gas fracking – Published on, by Grecu Cristian-Dan, September 10, 2013 (Via our comrades at the Centrul de Cultura Anarhista).

Sunday, September 1 marked the beginning of a new age in the social struggles unfolding in Romania. Protests occurred in more than 25 cities across the country — against gold mining and shale gas fracking. The same thing happened in more than 20 cities across Europe and even in North America.  

For more than 15 years, there has been a struggle against a Canadian gold mining corporation that wants to exploit gold and silver from the Apuseni Mountains, in the Western part of the country, which would represent the biggest open-pit mining project in Europe. The corporation wishes to erase the village of Rosia Montana and four mountain tops, only to be replaced by a lake full of cyanide. The estimations are that about 200.000 tons of cyanide will be used, only to process 200 tons of gold and a couple hundred tons of silver! What will be next is a regional environmental catastrophe, with extremely high chances of toxic contamination across Romania, Hungary, the Danube River and even the Black Sea.

People are pressured to leave their homes, and those who remain and resist are going to be expropriated by the paramilitary private police of the company, of course in the name of the state and its so called “national interest”. The mass media have been bought, the same happened to the government. On the 27th of August, the government passed a law that will permit this exploitation to take place. What remains between a wish and reality is the decision of parliament. And this thing happened even if, for 14 years, the government admitted that there the Canadian mining corporation has engaged in numerous illegal activities.

At the same time, Chevron is almost on the brink of fracking the earth beneath our feet. A number of illegal probes have already been made, and in some parts of the country the villagers are boycotting the corporation by stealing the wires used for detonations that have been laid out illegally on their property. Some villagers also got physically abused by the private henchmen of the corporations involved in the exploratory work (one of them owned by none other than Franck Timis, who is one of the people behind the Rosia Montana project as well).

If they would start fracking, a very large portion of the country would be destroyed, and the environment heavily polluted. They tell us that we need shale gas to quit the dreaded dependency on Russian gas, but they say nothing about the fact that Romania is one of the three European states that produces more gas than it uses. The problem is that we have privatized natural gas and what is produced here is sold at cheap prices for the benefit of the powerful states of the European Union while we keep importing gas for consumption at very high prices.

People in the villages are informed and organized by activists, the majority of them shouting that if Chevron starts drilling, they will stop being peaceful, and take out their pitchforks and resist! Slogans like “defend our land!”, “industrial sabotage!” and the like can be heard more and more often. In some villages, the people have threatened the officials, and in others, like the city of Bârlad, which is at the center of the resistance against fracking, people have taken to the streets protesting in the thousands.

In the last couple of years, people from Romania forgot that they had a voice, that they had power, that they could change something. Many accepted the current situation of poverty and corruption, and forgot that they could unite and fight together. But Chevron and RMGC (the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, which is the Romanian arm of the Canadian mining corporation) with the complicity of the state obliged us to wake up! … //

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Links:, reflections on a revolution,

About ROAR: ROAR Magazine is an online journal of the radical imagination that seeks to amplify the voice of our generation amid the clamorous cacophony of a rapidly changing world;

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(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

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