25,000 are not comfortably numb

15th day of the protests

 When it comes down to protesting, numbers are significant. And the fact that more than 20,000 people gathered yesterday and marched for about 4 hours through the streets of Bucharest, making it the biggest protest after the Revolution, that was simply unexpected and amazing.

There have been 14 days of protest so far and I have had my doubts, after seeing that during this week the number of protesters decreased drastically to some very few hundreds. Was it just a short-span fashion? Was it just cool to be there on the streets? Was it only the ego of some activists who wanted to feel that they are doing something? It’s easy to assume and state that if people truly care they will stay on the street every night until they get what they want.

But I was wrong. Probably we don’t have yet the dedication to be there every night. But the fact that people did show up on this Sunday evening, young parents with their very young children, old couples holding hands, people laughing and shouting, and not only a few of them, but tens of thousands, that was close to a miracle. Growing up in Romania in the last twenty years, there were tons of skepticism, making fun of, resignation, indifference, sorrow, a lot of anger, but an anger kept in your room, in front of the TV, or a newspaper, feeling really powerless. At least that was true for me and the people I have seen around me.

And now people walked out of their rooms and gathered with other people they didn’t know and they felt part of a community after being deprived of this feeling for so many years. Being part of a community is not just an extra-feature you may have it or you may it have not in your life, but it’s something essential to empower you and make you feel less vulnerable in front of all the shit that is taking place in this country. (and I mean mostly political shit).
It  felt like huge waves, one after another. I stopped in the middle of the crowd and didn’t move for about 20 minutes, just to get a feeling of this huge river and every 10 second there was a different frame, as new faces were showing up in front of my camera.

The sky was beautiful and blue, there were birds flying and a small moon has witnessed the whole protest.

Some of the protesters were very young. When I got in Piata Operei at 3.30pm, there were about nine people there, most of them 20-years old students at the Faculty of Medicine, writing slogans on papers, carrying flags. One of them, Dragos, just returned from his grandparents’ house and brought some apples which he offered to us. “Should I offer the policemen also some apples?” he asked. 

A lot of the protesters were young parents with kids. I didn’t even know there are so many beautiful, young parents in Bucharest.

Marching through the streets, surrounded by blocks where people opened their windows to watch the protest, protesters were inviting them to come out and join the protest, shouting one of the most popular slogans “Get out of your house if you care” and “Join Us”