On March 10, 2016 a large-scale, peaceful demonstration took place in Marosvásárhely. Fifteen thousand people took to the streets, in the historic capital of Szeklerland, the region inhabited mostly by the Szeklers, people with Hungarian self identity, demanding autonomy and protesting Romania’s planned administrative reform that would encroach upon the rights of the local Hungarian population. Even during the protest, the gendarmerie has, unlawfully and without justification, confiscated flags and signs with slogans from the protesters. The event, that was announced in advance and registered in the mayoral office, has taken place without incident, in accordance with prior notifications. Despite all this, participants indentified by the secret service on photographs and film footage, have been fined, some for “organizing an unannounced, unregistered or banned event”, others for “disturbing the peace”.
The real reason behind the obvious intent for intimidation is to ensure that the Hungarian community in Romania, deprived of its rights, would never again dare protest against the assimilation policy of Bucharest, the harassment of their elected leaders, the Hungarian language being forced out of public life, and the persecution of the Hungarian symbols.
It should be noted that all previous events were followed by actions of intimidation on the authorities’ part.
In the days following the similar event held on March 10, 2013, the financial guard inspected the organization behind the event, in 2014, they were fined by the gendarmerie for an equivalent of 3000 euro. Following the illumination in fall 2015, the same organization was fined for the equivalent of 2500 euro by the tax authorities, on unlawful grounds. This year, seeing that the previous attempts have failed, the repressive organs of the Romanian state have applied mass sanctions, aiming for not only the intimidation of the organizers, but the community as a whole. Even the gendarmerie itself admitted that mass sanctions like these have not been applied at Marosvásárhely since the fall of the Ceausescu regime.
The above listed examples prove that the different Romanian authorities fulfill the role of the political police whenever the Hungarian community raises their voice against Bucharest’s aggressive assimilation policy.
Marosvásárhely 03-28-2016 Izsák Balázs
President of the Szekler National Council