Featured image: The protests have disturbed the traffic all over the country in Romania. Source: Politico
In Romania, peasants and truck drivers have organized protests since January 10th , disrupting the traffic across the country and also along the border to Ukraine. The demands of the protesters have been faster payment of subsidies, compensations for those affected by drought and high electricity prices, the stopping of import of grain from Ukraine and lowering insurance and tax rates. The government came out with a package, which offered compensation of hundred euros per hectare up to 280,000 euros for losses due to the war of aggression against Ukraine and “some rule changes” for the drivers. According to the government, their proposal met the demands 99%, but the protesters expressed their rejection, saying, that the government is unable to manage the country, and continued the protests. Demanding, that the protesters approve the proposal given out by the government, the agriculture minister called anyone who dares to continue to protest a “troublemaker”.
Saying first that the protest is justified, the State has started repressing it after it refused to conciliate: in social medias a video of a police officer pointing a machine gun at a protester has been circulated, multiple protesters have been arrested and some protesters have been prosecuted for “incitement to violence” and a anti-corruption activist was arrested because of a critical statement. It is also reported that the drivers’ licenses of some of the truck drivers participating in protest have been taken away.
The demands reflect the increased robbing of the wages of the workers in the form of higher prices, which however are not reflected in the prices of products paid for the peasants, who also face the increasing exploitation and robbing. In Romania, the situation has been aggravated by the import of grain from Ukraine which has sunk the grain prices, at the same time as drought and high electricity and diesel prices have increased the costs for the peasants. After the war of aggression started, the EU, headed by German imperialism, lifted the trade restrictions on Ukrainian grain to exploit the country even more. Ukraine is the largest producer of grain in the world, but due to the war of aggression, it cannot export from its Black Sea ports. Similar protests to the ones in Romania have been taking place since November in Poland, with protesters blocking the routes to the Ukrainian border to protest the cheap grain being imported.