This is the diagnosis that Mariana Mihali (50), Romanian woman residing in Brussels, received from the Office of Forensic investigation in Bucharest (IML). The woman took part in the protest organized by groups of Romanians working abroad, on August 10 a.c., but she also suffered an eye trauma because of the gasses scattered by the Gendarmerie in Victoriei Square. During the clashes, for some minutes she lost consciousness and had to be carried by other fellow protesters, from the Government headquarters to the stairs of the Antipa Museum.
Mariana Mihali tells that on the day of the rally, she arrived in Victory Square around 19:10 hrs, and the area was already suffocated by tear gas.
"It was terribly hot when I arrived, I felt something was not normal. It was a pungent smell, we were breathing hard, and my eyes were beginning to bother me. I was with some friends, I went up to the fences mounted in front of the Government, on the left side of the Antipa Museum, and all of a sudden many people with their swallowed faces and red eyes were trying to get out of the crowd because they were suffocating. Already at 19:30 hrs, I could not breathe any more”, said Mariana.
“For five-ten minutes I can’t remember what happened"
The Romanian woman tried to talk with one of the gendarmes sitting in front of the Government, asking, "Are you really going to tear gas towards the crowd, suffocate us? I have seen a lot of mothers with children, I have seen Mr. Mihai Șora, there are old people in the Square. We, too, are humans." There was no answer. “I was only thinking that if I managed to convince at least a gendarme that is was not right what they were doing, maybe he would pass on to his colleagues, but he didn’t even blink, I did not see any reaction from him," says Mariana Mihali.
The woman says there was no physical violence around her, but after 19.30 hours, when Victory Square was filled with impressive quantities of tear gas, dispersed by the police forces every 15-20 minutes, the crowd began to become more agitated, trying to get out of there.
“My eyes and throat were incredibly painful, they stung me, I had trouble breathing. At one point the crowd tried to find a way out of the Square and I was pushed to the Antipa [Museum]. From that moment on, I only grabbed my hands and clung to a fence. I have no recollection of what happened during the next five to ten minutes. What I remember after this time feeling a jolt due to the fact that a man in a white T-shirt almost threw me from his arms to the stairs of the Antipa Museum. Surely, he was barely on his feet because of all the gas inhaled that night”, explains Mariana Mihali. With the report registered at IML, the Romanian woman coming from Belgium for the Diaspora protest says she will press charges, hoping that the prosecutors will find out the truth about the Gendarmerie's forceful intervention.
This article was translated into English by Cosmin Pojoranu and Adina Năstase