Basescu, the begining of the end

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The imagines broadcasted Romanian news channels in the last few days reseamble a lot with those taken in Cairo, Tunis or London during 2011. But the essence of these protests are fundamentally different. People gathered in the street after messages on facebook, twitter, and personal bloggs, indeed. But many pieces of the Romanian puzzle are particularly original.

University Square is the symbolic place of the December 1989 Revolution, the place of the marathon protest against glasnost and perestroika, the half-way-to-a-real-democracy promoted by former communists like Ion Iliescu, between April and June 1990. University Square is a sacred place for the people living in Bucharest, it is the symbol of freedom. Here, at University Square, people meet each other to protest against Nicolae Ceauşescu, Ion Iliescu, and, now, as we can see, evening after evening, against Traian Băsescu. And Bucharest people will never accept to see University Square controlled by the army, gendarmers or policemen.

Strategists close to president Băsescu were wrong when decided to let people gather here, in the University Square. Initially, people went to protest in front of the Cotroceni presidencial palace,  a point pretty far way  from the symbolic heart of the Capital. But officials ordered a huge security barrier at Cotroceni, so people went back to their usual and…more powerful protest place. The official thinking behind this was to avoid having the whole country watching on television how president Băsescu is contested on his own field, in front of his own headquarter.  Some people gathered at University Square in the first place weren’t even allowed to go at Cotroceni, they were guarded in the square by gendarmers. What a weird scenario…remember how Băsescu promised to come monthly in the University Square to meet common people. Why didn’t he try last evenings? People are now against him. Why?

Gendarmery was placed on the streets to be violent to the people. Huligans were let to destroy shops and bus stations to compromise national wide anti-Băsescu peaceful protests, and then these soccer huligans were beaten up by gendarners in front of the cameras and during live broadcasting. It is the inevitable picture of an adrift regime for many years now. A regime with frequent authoritarian gestures, flagrant manipulations, extremely tough austerity measures and violence – all of these, a consequence of the excessive personalization of power.  Traian Băsescu had become everything in Romania, an unacceptable U-turn in an EU country.

The prime-minister, ministers, leaders of the govermental parties hidden themselves when protests broke out. The suprem commander, the president who provoked the uprise didn’t have a single message to the people since the crisis have started.  All the past week, he was improperly outspoken and aggressive on the sensitive health system issue. But now he is improperly silent. If we have seen the president comming on Sunday evening in front of the TV cameras to calm down the country and withdraw the huge gendarmery positions from the streets, it would have been natural and the right thing to do. But Traian Băsescu didn’t done this. He failed. It’s the beginning of his political end. And he can’t recover.

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