Romanian emigrants return to protest government corruption

About 40,000 Romanians protested against corruption of the political class over the week-end in Bucharest. Returning emigrants returned in large numbers to lend their voices to the cause.

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Romanian emigrants return to protest government corruption - NewsMavens
Romania protest June 20, Bucharest, YouTube

Why this story matters:

About 3.6 million Romanians are estimated to live abroad, compared to 20 million left in the country.

Romania has one of the fastest growing emigration rates in the world.

Last week, thousands of them returned to boost an ongoing protest against a corrupted political class that wants to tighten its grip on power. 

Once migrants leave, it is widely assumed that they become apolitical and forget about their home country while enjoying higher living standards elsewhere.

In reality, however, migrants end up loving their home country more than those who remained. Its problems become remote, its image idealized -- a lost paradise. 

More than those left behind, migrants hate incompetent political leaders: they blame them for being forced to leave their loved ones behind and struggle alone among strangers. 

Details from the story:

  • With the protest of the diaspora on the horizon, several media have been paying attention to the story of Romanian immigrants. In a recent documentary, Recorder follows the story of a middle class family from Bucharest with two kids as they prepare to relocate to England. It is the story of many people these days -- if when the country joined the EU, hope kept people put, the current bleak political climate is making people leave once again. 
  • The family from the documentary is the "typical middle class family that should be the engine of society', say the film-makers. Instead, they're moving to England to work in a home for old people. The couple want a better life for their two kids. They regret leaving, and they are not too wild about their future jobs, but they say they are fed up with not being able to cover the bills. They say they have protested many times during last years' demonstrations, but to no effect. Things are getting worse in Romania. Hope is disappearing." 
  • The Romanian Border Police stated that in two days, over 120,000 people entered Romania from the Nadlac border control point in Hungary.
  • Most of the Romanin disapora live in Europe, making a large-scale return for the protest quite feasible.
  • Because of conflicts with Romanian authorities, it is unclear whether the protest has received permission from the city.
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