Romanians Lead Shale Protests in and around European Parliament
On December 1st, approximately fifty activists held a demonstration near European institutions in Brussels. This was part of their action against shale gas exploitation and the use of cyanide in gold mines in Romania.
The timing of this manifestation was caused by the arrival of Alexandru Popescu and Gayzer Frackman -nomen non est omen- who had been walking from Romania and the UK to Brussels, to bring their message to the European leaders. December 1 also marks Romanian National Day. Amongst the demonstrators were many Romanians, but also citizens of other EU-countries. The last part of their travel was not the most easy part, as Monday large parts of Belgium were touched by a general strike against the social policy of the Belgian federal government. Public transport was very limited.
European leaders likely did not see much of the demonstration, however, activists were officially received in the European Parliament by the greens and were given a forum to read their statement.
Popescu, a 46-year-old antiquarian, has a small organic farm near Ploiesti. He started his walk on August 30 and daily marched about 35 km trough Hungary, the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany and France. He presents himself as the messenger of Romanian civil society’s conscience against a Romanian government, that "tries to impose environmentally dangerous projects with irreversible effects not only on environment but also on people's health." In December 2013, he spent 22 days outdoors on a hunger strike in Bucharest.