Protest pianist brings harmony to Bucharest’s Victory Square

Protest pianist brings harmony to Bucharest’s Victory Square
By Carmen Simion in Bucharest September 9, 2018

Hundreds of Romanians gathered on September 8 in Bucharest to mark one month after an anti-government protest resulted in a brutal intervention by the gendarmerie against the protesters. More than 450 people needed medical intervention after the protest in August.

German pianist Davide Martello played his piano in Bucharest’s Victory Square, a place where Romanians have gathered regularly in the past one and a half years to express their dissatisfaction with the government and the ruling coalition, and to show their support for the continuation of Romania’s anti-corruption fight. 

Martello has previously played in many conflict zones around the world, in Taksim Square in Istanbul, the Bataclan theatre in Paris, Kyiv’s Maidan and Afghanistan. On his piano, carrying the peace sign, Martello played songs such as “Let It Be”, “Imagine” and “Yesterday”.

“I am very glad to be part of a movement that is about people together, freedom … because you’ve been trying to do this for a long time. I hope I can help with my music and I hope music can help with inspiring politicians,” Martello told the audience.

The concert was part of the “A taste for freedom” event, organised on Facebook. “Almost one month after August 10 we will come together at the same place in order to show that we are many, we are united and strong, and that our taste for freedom cannot be taken away by tear gas, police batons or water cannons. This is also a good opportunity to show them that we still see them, we know that their only concern is to pass an emergency decree on amnesty and pardon and we will not allow it,” the organisers wrote on Facebook.

While the investigation into the events of August 10 is moving slowly and no one has been held responsible for the violence, the protesters are taking steps to make themselves heard.

The Declic and Rezist Zurich communities rented advertising space in Geneva airport to broadcast a video showing the brutal intervention of the gendarmerie, reported. Their aim is to send a message to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to take a stand against abuses in Romania.

Meanwhile, the violence in August 10 led to one of the biggest internal conflicts the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) has witnessed. The Bucharest mayor and Bucharest PSD branch leader, Gabriela Firea, has launched repeated attacks on the PSD leader Liviu Dragnea and his allies. Firea has accused Interior Minister Carmen Dan of trying to make the Bucharest prefect responsible for the violent intervention of the gendarmerie, and has asked both Dan and Dragnea to step down.

The European Parliament has decided to have a plenary debate on the current situation in Romania, representatives of the European institution told on September 6. The discussions will include the changes to the justice legislation in the country, the rule of law and the violence at the protest on August 10.