Around 2,000 people protested on Sunday, December 15th, in Bucharest against the Parliament’s latest bills adopted on Tuesday, December 9th, during the same day when the mining law allowing for the controversial Rosia Montana gold mining project, was rejected. Lawmakers adopted two amendments to the Criminal Code which shield elected officials from criminal sanctions for corruption offences, including conflicts-of-interest. Meanwhile, public employees, members of government and appointed officials remain subject to the Criminal Code. Moreover, neither of two laws was on the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies, which violates the legal requirements of transparency in the decision-making process.
In the same day, the Parliament also passed a law re-criminalizing defamation, following the recommendation of the Constitutional Court. The laws have been severely criticized by Transparency International Romania, the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), and by several foreign embassies.
Protesters asked President Traian Basescu to reject the laws making elected officials practically immune to corruption prosecution. They carried flags and placards with messages such as: “Criminal Parliament flees the courts”, “Romanian Lawmakers are the terrorists of democracy,” “Criminal Parliament + Corrupt Government= Sold State”, “Romania, Sleeping Beauty” and “Do not touch the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), they are the only ones listening to us” and ” Down with Basescu, Ponta and Antonescu”.