Journal of a Literary Traveller 5: The Creative Signs of Romania

For the past week, hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating on the streets of Bucharest and other Romanian cities against a government decree that would have shielded many politicians from prosecution for abuse of power. As an eyewitness I was impressed by the large number of people showing up at sub-zero temperatures, as well as the peacefulness of the protests. One more thing stood out: the creativity and individuality of the protesters’ signs. 

If there is something my years of experience in Romania has taught me, it is that in this country there is a personal touch to everything.

One of the many ways in which this manifests itself is in signs. Whereas in many other parts of Europe, signs are mostly impersonal and uniform, in Romania even a no-parking sign or a park sign will have some element of personality in it that displays the personality or exasperation of the writer.

The other day I went to one of the demonstrations against the government decree that would have shielded many politicians from prosecution for abuse of power. The demonstration took place on Piața Victoriei (Victory Square), which is a huge square in front of the government headquarters.

Despite the size of the square, it was so full of people that it was often very hard to move about. Apparently 300,000 people showed up for the demonstration. I was very impressed by how such a crowded protest managed to stay so peaceful. I think part of it was due to the humour and personal touch that is a trademark of Romanians.

The following is a very small selection of the many signs that have been seen in Romanian protests. Since most of my own photos came out blurry, I have taken most of the following pictures from the social media storm that is simmering at the moment through the Romanian part of the web. I have attempted to give credit to the photographers, but have not always been able to find their names. If you find any error or omission that you would like me to rectify, then please let me know.

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“Today at the protest, tomorrow at the exam” (Photo credit: Robin Wildt Hansen).

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“Your dead can vote, but they can’t demonstrate!”

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“It makes me want to HOWL!”

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“You might have taken us out for coffee before f**king us”

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In front of the New York consulate: “Dragnea (leader of the ruling Social Democrat Party), Dracula has been asking about you” (Dracula was famous for his zero-tolerance policy towards thieves). (Photo credit: Ana Ilinca).

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“Yes, Mum, I dressed warmly!” (photo credit: Julius Constantinescu)

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“Mummy taught me that it isn’t nice to steal. Didn’t yours?” (Photo credit: europafm.ro)

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