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Stop TTIP: Romania’s Voice – October 16 in Bucharest

Yesterday, at the invitation of a Romanian member of the European Parliament, Sorin Moisa, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom attended a conference meant to support and praise TTIP. Other notable attendees were the EU’s Chief Negotiator for TTIP Ignacio Garcia Bercero and US Ambassador to the EU Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, and the conference was titled “TTIP: Romania’s Voice”. It was, as one would expect, a carefully staged affair, all speakers being in agreement with each other and highlighting only the supposedly positive aspects of the Treaty, little time being allowed for questions which may have broken the script. In addition, when those did pop up, they were dismissed with empty rhetoric, vague promises not backed by facts or data, some of them also worded in such a way as to not actually be broken if the end result will actually be as bad as those who oppose this deal expect, or even outright hostility.

Considering that, the de-click.ro platform organized an event, which I can file under the “United We Save” category since it was completely supported and promoted by both the United We Save Community and the old page, as well as by several of the known activists, some of whom also attended. Alex actually posted something of a teaser a few days before the plan was actually made public, but I have to say that for a while I wasn’t sure he was referring to the call to attend a flash mob in front of the Marriott hotel and sing a little song against TTIP, to quite literally give voice to the over 25000 Romanians who signed the European Initiative against TTIP and CETA. But that actually was the plan, the event being listed as lasting only ten minutes and the song lasting only about two, so we’d be able to do what we were there to do and get away quickly in case security will be tight and the gendarmes won’t be willing to allow us to stick around.
However, our worst enemy was in fact the weather, the rain likely keeping some from attending. The gendarmes, on the other hand, simply gathered in the area and occasionally walked past, only one asking how many will come as the dozen or so of us who were there at 6 PM decided to wait a while longer before starting, seeing as it was possible to do so. The only moment when there might have been a conflict was when we moved to the statue we had gathered in front of, to use the area as something of a stage, and one gendarme asked us to move away, saying that’s especially because we were there to be against the event which had taken place inside. The situation didn’t escalate when we stayed, however, and the one who appeared to be in charge came a few moments later to say that, as long as we’re peaceful, nothing will happen.
Of course, we were completely peaceful. A few simple instruments had been passed around to those who wanted to use more than their voices, a number of sheets of paper with the lyrics were also handed to those who hadn’t brought their own, one assumed the role of conductor, being quite amused by it, and we sang the little song a few times in the worsening rain. Once that was done, a banner was also brought and a few pictures were taken with it, both my count at the time and, after you also add those who were standing in front of the group, my own pictures saying that 20 people were present at that point. Then I left, but the video that was posted shows that some of the others stayed a little longer, to add their individual voices to the message.
Should also state that Alex seemed to simply show up at the back of the group while we were singing, and at the end said he was somewhat disappointed by how it turned out, because while we were gathering outside, he was actually inside the hotel, trying to rehearse the song by himself and wondering where everybody else was. He also said the guards and gendarmes who were inside expected us to come in and do this there, telling him they won’t allow any signs, banners or other such elements, but if we simply mean to come in, sing the little song and then get back out, they won’t stop us. It was a bit late to turn around and go in at that point, however, and it was also said that Cecilia Malmstrom had actually left the building while we were singing, some pointing at a car that passed right in front of us, meaning that being outside may have actually meant that we were seen directly, which may not have happened otherwise.


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