"Liberty, equality, fraternity, gas and electricity! Stop Sarkozy!" So sounded the first slogans chanted by Rroma people protesting at the French Embassy to Bucharest on Monday. Some 60 Gypsy people urged the Romanian government to have a stand about "voluntary repatriations" organized by the French state. A youngster recently "teleported from France" was among the protesters and shared his own slice of the story: "Mister Sarko" had him parted from his French girlfriend.
Upset about his expulsion, he showed up and joined the Monday protest at the French Embassy, where people wearing banners and T-shirts printed with Rroma slogans, with flowers, brought a rubbish bin and French products to throw away "under the scrutiny of the public eye".
Many T-shirts carried the words "rom pakivalo". What does that mean? Each protester with his own answer. "Fingerprinted Romanians", says a first man from the crowd. Another corrects him: "Respectable Rroma man", he explains. But the explanation did not last long, as another answer eventually came up: "Discriminated Rroma people".
Protesters said they came to the French Embassy to protest measures taken by the French government, to protest the Romanian government's lack of interest in finding a solution to their problems and in identifying long-term programs to integrate Rroma people socially and economically in Romania and in Europe.
Protest at the French Embassy:
That was the explanation given by one organizer of the protest, Marian Daragiu of the Civic Alliance of Rroma people in Romania. But the explanation of a man from the crowd provided a different picture.
Liviu Caldarariu is a young man who was "expelled in an unfair manner" from a country where he had "an OK situation, an apartment, the right to work" and, above all, a French girlfriend he loved. "Oh well, she didn't have the papers either, she was Algerian". After eight years in France, a period of "socializing", working and planning a future, everything in Caldarariu's mind was broken apart by "Mister Sarko". "For me, France is my country, my mother and my father who raised me (...) It's a shock, I can't understand", he said.
He said he now only talks with his love on messenger "because mobile is expensive in France". But he is worried their love might have come to an and end.