The paralyzed gendarme. "We have a colleague who was beastly beaten. She has a serious suspicion of a cervical spine rupture, running the risk of becoming paralyzed" said Romanian Gendarmerie spokesman Marius Militaru the day after two gendarmes, one of them a woman, were beaten by a few hooligans attending the rally. "The most difficult intervention was to explain to parents that their daughter might be paralyzed," the communicator said. However, as if by magic, the gendarme woman was seen again on the premises within a few hours. The next day we see her sit up on a hospital bed with the Minister of the Interior by her side. The lie was disbanded on the same day by Health Minister Sorina Pintea, who denied the alarming "diagnosis". Moreover, on August 14, the gendarme woman was discharged and was seen running candidly to her car only to avoid journalists. Earlier, a press release showed her, shortly after being attacked, standing on her feet and saying to her colleagues, "Guys, where the hell did you take me."
The dead gendarmes. Colonel Catalin Paraschiv, head of the Special Gendarmerie Brigade, went further and said in an interview with the Kamikaze magazine that he and his team were informed that the two gendarmes had been killed. Such information allegedly came from the investigation structures on the ground and was soon channelled to all TV stations. The "man in white", as he was to be nicknamed, said that "in all that hum it is possible for the truth to be distorted a bit." However, it was this way that the Colonel justified the gendarmes’ violent intervention.
The evacuation order. Major Laurenţiu Cazan, who appeared in a TVR (Romanian National Television) interview as the coordinator of the August 10 intervention, claimed on August 16th that the order to take action against the demonstrators was given at 20.00. On August 11, spokesman Marius Militaru had said that the order was given at 23.11. The fact is, in a first phase, Speranţa Cliseru, the Prefect of Bucharest, a person with close relations to Mayor Gabriela Firea, refused to submit the military prosecutors the order to evacuate Victoria Square.
The Molotov cocktail vehicle. A strange statement belongs to the same Laurentiu Cazan, who claimed to have identified a vehicle filled with "incendiary bottles" which protesters would have used. The major could not, however, show any evidence that the vehicle existed: i.e., photographs, registration number or owner's name. Also, apart from a few ornamental trees set on fire by some rioters, the protest saw no incendiary bottles being thrown.
The Springtime attack. Both Colonel Catalin Paraschiv and Major Laurenţiu Cazan said the gendarmes only started using force after receiving information that the police were being assaulted by protesters in the Springtime fast-food area. However, the video footage shows the opposite: Four police vans tried to cross the crowd with beacon lights flashing, at which moment people chanted "No Violence" and "Back". When the police withdrew, the demonstrators shouted "Bravo!"
Who coordinated? Although Laurenţiu Cazan presented himself as the coordinator of the actions in Victoria Square, the head of the Romanian Gendarmerie Sebastian Cucos, and the first deputy Ionut Sindile, who in the meantime became the head of this institution, were also present on the premises. It is unlikely that Laurenţiu Cazan, the third in the chain of command of Bucharest Gendarmerie, would have coordinated the action over his superiors, who were present in the square.
The hidden identification number. Catalin Paraschiv argued that the Special Brigade gendarmes may be identified by the identification number on their helmets. Yet Passport Productions journalists have filmed intervention forces having their ID numbers covered with black tape since 16.30, when the crowd was peaceful. Did the gendarmes know something was going to happen? Why they chose to hide their IDs?
20 gendarmes assaulted a taxi
One of the most controversial moments of the gendarmes' forceful intervention remains the assault on Israeli tourists. Photo reporter Cătălin Georgescu from the magazine "Decât o revistă" captured the moment when about 20 gendarmes stormed into a taxi carrying three Israeli people who were beaten together with the driver. "It was at 01.17. The gendarmes stood at the end of Ion Mihalache Boulevard and a taxi came.
I remember that they opened the doors, started to pull people off the car, throw them to the ground. The gendarme started to hit the tourists with their batons and feet. I could not believe what was going on. It was heard that they did this because they were protesters who tried to escape", Cătălin Georgescu tells. Major Laurenţiu Cazan explained the incident by saying, "I saw some of them using taxis to run away. We decided to extend our searches to taxis in order to find those responsible." However, it later emerged that it was the only car checked. (F.D.)
This article was translated into English by Daniela Mitrofan