Romanians march in record numbers against gold mining project

More than 15 000 people took to the streets on the night of September 15 2013 in Bucharest and further thousands in other cities in what have been the largest peaceful protests so far against the Rosia Montana cyanide based gold mining project which is likely to be finally rejected due to massive public opposition.

The protests started early this month after the left leaning government in Bucharest passed a decree supporting the gold mining project, despite a warning from the Ministry of Justice the document is replete with unconstitutional provisions. But as the protests gained force, the liberals, the junior party in the three party ruling coalition, backed down and voiced opposition against the project, triggering a crisis and forcing the majority social-democrats to take defensive positions as well.

The project has divided the society. In Rosia Montana, a mining town in central Transylvania, people support the project which is said to bring economic benefits and about 1000 jobs over the 16 years planned gold exploitation. More than 30 miners blocked themselves underground last week and warned they would go on hunger strike if parliament rejects the project, fearing they will lose their. A visit yesterday by PM Victor Ponta put an end to their protest.

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