The Romanian prosecutor’s office on Friday announced that it has filed a lawsuit against leading gendarmerie leaders following “unjustified violence” during the crackdown on an anti-government demonstration that left more than 450 injured in Bucharest in August.
The head of the national gendarmerie at the time of the events Sebastian Cucos, his deputy Ionut Sindile, the head of the Bucharest Gendarmerie Laurentiu Cazan and a Secretary of State for the Interior, Mihai Chirica, are accused of abuse of power.
They are accused of having formulated an “illegal order of intervention” that led to “unjustified acts of violence” while some 80,000 people, including families, had gathered on 10 August to denounce “corruption” in the Social Democrat government of Viorica Dancila.
The gendarmes had used a water cannon and made massive use of tear gas to disperse the largely peaceful crowd, after some protestors attempted to break the cordon and throw bottles and stones at the police.
According to the prosecutors, the gendarmerie should have intervened in a gradual manner and attempted first to neutralise the troublemakers.
About 450 people, including 30 gendarmes, were injured. A protester who had inhaled gas died of digestive hemorrhage in the days following the demonstration.
Centre-right President Klaus Iohannis, in open conflict with the government, condemned the police violence, saying “attacking innocent people, journalists, women and children is inconceivable in a European state”. Nearly 800 protesters lodged a complaint against the security forces.
Ms Dancila and the boss of the Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, for their part did not hesitate to describe the excesses occurred during the demonstration as an “attempted coup”.
This allegation, which left the majority of observers very outraged, was first made by the gendarmerie, which a month after the facts complained of “attempt to change the constitutional order threatening national security”.