The US Embassy to Bucharest applauds “the non-violent exercise of freedom of speech” and encourages “all Romanians to stay engaged in the civic process” reads a written statement made by US ambassador Hans Klemm and released today. The statement is a reaction to recent events in Romania, where thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against corruption and to ask for a profound change of the political system.

The United States of America and Romania are allies who enjoy a strong and vibrant strategic partnership.  We look forward to working with President Iohannis, Interim PM Cimpeanu and the interim government on our shared priorities.  Ultimately, the US-Romania relationship is strong because of our shared democratic values, our commitment to collective security for our citizens, and our desire to build a shared prosperity for both our countries,” the ambassador stated.

The public protests that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday followed a fire in a Bucharest nightclub last Friday that resulted in 32 deaths and almost 200 injured. Blaming the tragedy on the generalized corruption, people took to the streets in Bucharest and elsewhere to ask for a full reform. Victor Ponta, former PM, resigned on Wednesday, after the previous night some 25,000 people gathered in downtown Bucharest to ask for his resignation, along with that of the mayor of district 4, where the fire took place. The mayor, Cristian Piedone, resigned a few hours after the government fell. However, the move not only did not put an end to protests, but more people took to the streets on Wednesday night asking for the full reform of the political system and saying that the two resignations should be only the beginning. A new protest is scheduled to take place tonight with thousands expected to attend.

Following Ponta’s resignation President Klaus Iohannis has appointed Sorin Cimpeanu as interim prime minister and said that he will hold consultations with political parties during the next two days as well as with representatives of the civil society on Friday.

Natalia Martian