Why this story matters:
In this centennial year, and 30 years after 1989 Revolution, Romania still has a poor infrastructure. The country lacks highways linking at least three of the country's historic provinces located around the Carpathian arch. Moldova, the North Eastern province of Romania, an intensely populated area, is linked to the capital by a modern road of only one and a half lanes, a size totally inadequate for the growing traffic.
As a result of this poor infrastructure, a drive from one of the country to the next takes more than 12 hours, twice as long as it should be with an appropriate level of infrastructure.
The organizers of the protest demanded clear deadlines and guarantees from the Government regarding the start of the work on the A8 motorway (Ungheni-Iasi-Targu Mures) -- linking Moldova to Transylvania -- and the A7 motorway (Ploiesti-Suceava) - which will link Moldova to Tara Romaneasca (South).
Details from the story:
- Two NGOs, "Together for the A8" and "Moldova wants the motorway", organized a protest that involved more than 250 vehicles, from Iasi to Bucharest (400 km, 6 hours, 70 km/h) on Saturday, May 19th.
- Although the march was supposed to end in Bucharest with an unprecedented protest -- the blockade of the Victoria Square, where the Romanian Government is located, the City Hall did not approve it.
- "They pretended there was a taxi drivers protest, but they did not know anything. They also announced us late, so we couldn't have an official response. It was not a surprise. The march was a success, with hundreds of participants, people who applauded us on the route, and there was good media coverage. It's a good start”, wrote journalist Dan Radu, a protest participant.
- Police forces intervened and did not let the column occupy Victoria Square in Bucharest, where the Romanian Government is located. The police fragmented the column into 4-5 smaller ones. After hours of blockades and negotiation, protestors were only allowed to pass Victoria Square.
- Since 2007, when it officially started the construction of these large infrastructure projects, not only has not one meter of motorway been built in Moldova, but at this moment there are no contracts concluded for the restoration of the feasibility studies, and there are not even fixed dates for bidding on these contracts.
- For the A8 Motorway (Iaşi - Târgu Mureş, which would link Moldova to European routes), two feasibility studies have been canceled so far. Now, after 11 years, the situation is again at the starting point, exactly as in 2007. For the Motorway A7 -- or express road, because the government has not yet decided on the road category -- the bidding for feasibility studies have been postponed 16 times in the past five years.