Romania: Far-right protesters oppose COVID workplace passes

Dec 21, 2021, 5:25 AM | Updated: 8:03 am

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Hundreds of far-right protesters gathered in Romania’s capital, Bucharest, on Tuesday to oppose a bill that would introduce “green certificates” in workplaces, which authorities hope will limit the spread of coronavirus infections and prevent another collapse of the country’s health care system.

Romania, a European Union nation of about 19 million, faced its deadliest surge of coronavirus infections and deaths through October and November when intensive care units across the country were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, and hospital morgues ran out of space.

In response to the unfolding disaster, authorities tightened restrictions in late October, and daily coronavirus cases have since dropped to their lowest since August. Authorities are now looking at ways to try to avert another grim virus surge — now a real concern after Romania confirmed more than a dozen cases of the omicron coronavirus variant.

Romania’s new coalition government is discussing a bill that would require people going into their workplaces to present green certificates — obtained with proof of full vaccination, having recovered from COVID-19, or a negative test. They would be introduced after three consecutive weeks of an increasing COVID-19 infection rate, and once a certain incident rate is exceeded.

Only 40% of Romania’s population, or 7.7 million people, have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Some 2 million of those have also received the booster dose that is considered necessary to combat the omicron variant.

The mostly maskless demonstrators, who converged outside the parliament building, waved national tricolor flags in red, yellow, and blue, blocked traffic and chanted “Freedom!” Chaos briefly ensued as dozens forced their way into the parliament building’s courtyard and some tried to access the building but were stopped by riot police.

The protest was attended by various right-wing groups including supporters of Romania’s nationalist AUR party, which holds seats in parliament. In a video broadcast online from the protest, AUR co-chair George Simion urged people to “stand with us today to block the green certificate” and called the bill “unconstitutional.”

“Side with AUR, side with the people who are right-headed — who want justice,” he said.

Romania’s health ministry said in a press release Monday that the adoption of the law on the digital COVID-19 certificate “must take into account the interest of public health” but also cater to the “proper functioning of the economy.”

Over the winter holidays, hundreds of thousands of Romanians living abroad are expected to return home, which prompted authorities to implement on Monday passenger location forms to improve the traceability of infections. In 24 hours, more than 100,000 forms have been filled out.

Beatrice Mahler, hospital manager of Bucharest’s Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumology, which has been on the front line of the pandemic, told The Associated Press Tuesday that her hospital has been busy disinfecting wards, repairing medical equipment, and revising medical oxygen supplies.

“This moment is sensitive and critical,” Mahler said. “I hope that the experience of the past waves will be the one that will make us responsible … and understand that testing is mandatory if we want to protect our loved ones.”


Follow all AP stories on the coronavirus pandemic at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

A roof over their head: Churches use tiny homes for homeless

Churches across the U.S. are tackling the big question of how to address homelessness in their communities with a small solution: tiny homes. On vacant plots near their parking lots and steepled sanctuaries, congregations are building everything from fixed and fully contained micro homes to petite, moveable cabins, and several other styles of small-footprint dwellings […]
6 hours ago
Flowers are left at the scene of a shooting in central Oslo, Saturday, June 25, 2022. Norwegian pol...
Associated Press

Norway terror alert raised after deadly mass shooting

OSLO, Norway (AP) — The Norwegian security service PST has raised its terror alert to the highest level after a mass shooting left 2 people dead and many wounded during Pride week in Oslo. Acting PST chief Roger Berg called the shootings an “extreme Islamist terror act.” He said the gunman, who was arrested shortly […]
6 hours ago
In this combo photo, protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 20...
Associated Press

Three months of waiting, and finally a Supreme Court ruling

Follow the links in this story to recent AP coverage about abortion over the last three months. ___ And so the interminable wait after the leak of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade has come to an end — nearly three months in which abortion and all of its complexities have been have been hashed […]
6 hours ago
With tear gas in the air, a large number of police surround the Arizona Capitol after protesters re...
Associated Press

Police at Arizona Capitol fire tear gas, disperse protesters

PHOENIX (AP) — Police fired tear gas to disperse anti-abortion demonstrators from outside the Arizona Capitol Friday night, forcing lawmakers to huddle briefly in a basement inside the building as they rushed to complete their 2022 session. Thousands of protesters had gathered earlier on the Capitol grounds in Phoenix, divided into groups both supporting and […]
6 hours ago
Jay Walker, third from left, co-founder of Gays Against Guns, speaks into a megaphone during a rall...
Associated Press

To some defenders, gun ruling could right a racial wrong

NEW YORK (AP) — When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s tight restrictions on who can carry a handgun, condemnation erupted from liberal leaders and activists. But some public defenders, often allies of progressive activists, praised the court’s ruling, saying gun-permitting rules like New York’s have long been a license for racial discrimination. […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Rhode Island Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Andrew Bates pulls up tape marking a line at a c...
Associated Press

Army Guard troops risk dismissal as vaccine deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — Up to 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers across the country — or about 13% of the force — have not yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 vaccine, and as the deadline for shots looms, at least 14,000 of them have flatly refused and could be forced out of the service. Guard soldiers have […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Romania: Far-right protesters oppose COVID workplace passes