I translated and adapted articles for Casa Jurnalistului, a collective of independent Romanian reporters. Articles covered social issues such as the anti-fracking protests or homelessness.
Organization: Casa Jurnalistului
A Thousand Feisty Umbrellas
by Stefan Mako, translated by Patricia Becus
It`s a rainy morning in Titan, a Bucharest suburb. Right by a junction where construction work is in progress, a man had climbed atop a heap of construction debris to address a crowd. He speaks heatedly into a megaphone about the vile politicians who have passed a draft bill that granted Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) the right to mine for gold and silver at Rosia, a village in the Apuseni mountains. The crowd looks a bit dull–some people are checking their phones, others are chatting about the future of the protests. And yet, the fact that people showed up on such terrible weather is impressive. As the man points out at the end of his speech "Even if the protests would end today, we won! We planted a seed of change in our society"
The protests against the cyanide mining in Rosia Montana started a month ago yet this is the first time a march begins in a suburb and not in the square by the University of Bucharest that became the usual gathering spot for these protests. Several hundred people have gathered around the puddles that dot the yard. They shiver from the cold and sing faintly into the megaphone "Ponta, get the fuck out: RMGC get the fuck out; Chevron, get the fuck out. Everybody, get the fuck out"
This is Kilometer Zero of the suburb democracy: a construction site bordered by a public restroom and kiosks selling shawarma, donuts, and gelato. The rain falls incessantly and it`s getting pretty cold out. Everyone copes with the weather the best they can: umbrellas, raincoats, giant plastic trash bag. Several gendarmes units have been assigned to keep things under control, but they hide in the vans parked alongside the road. The employees of the nearby Kebab Fry Chicken restaurant watch the scene in amazement.
From where I stand, the crowd seems to wait for a bus that never comes. A middle aged man is vigorously waving a giant Romanian flag, drizzling water in the eyes of those who are unlucky to be around him "The clean protest" as the United We Save Rosia Montana activists have dubbed it, begins its muddy descent through the Titan suburb rubble.
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