Unrest which had simmered during January exploded into full-blown mass protests in cities throughout Romania. The protests began on January 29th, after the government pushed through a controversial set of legislative amendments regarding corruption.
During the last few days’ crowds in their thousands have gathered in and around Victory square in Bucharest. Although legislation was rolled back on February 5th, protesters are still in the streets calling for the resignation of the government.
Romanians have a tradition of mass movements, and the current round of protests is the largest since the fall of communism in 1989. Groups working to fight corruption in Romania were positive to see the streets filled with protesters.
Even though the recent wave of protests has mostly been peaceful, the risk of violent incidents, such as riots and clashes between police and protesters should never be underestimated.
For travelers, the most common problem presented by civil unrest is related to getting from A to B, as roads are often closed and public transport services are disrupted. In cases where violence escalates, being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to physical injury, being subjected to tear gas, or suffering hearing impairment due to the use of large firecrackers, (commonly used by hardcore protest groups).
Our advice to travelers is to take sensible precautions if you’re near any demonstrations and to follow the advice of local security authorities.
During the recent protests in Romania, SAFEY sent alerts to users in the area as the protests began on January 29th. Further alerts were sent to users warning that there will be further protests between Feb 1-6th and that travelers should expect travel disruptions.
Our alerts also included information on the time and location of planned and ongoing demonstrations, all to help travelers avoid the area and provide alternative routes.
Our advice to travelers:
- Remain aware of signs of increased tensions in your vicinity. Areas that are likely to see protests include Victory Park in Bucharest, other parks, and public squares across Romanian cities and near government buildings.
- Avoid all protests since the risk of escalation cannot be ruled out.
- Be aware of the risk of traffic disruptions in your vicinity. Limit travel in areas where protests are ongoing and seek alternate routes.
- Monitor local media outlets and this security information service regularly.