An estimated 15,000 people gathered in University Square and Victory Square outside government offices in Bucharest on Saturday, chanting ‘Freedom without certificates’ and ‘Down with the government.’
The latest round of restrictions came into effect on Sunday, limiting access to entertainment venues, as well as introducing weekend curfews for unvaccinated individuals.
Authorities also issued mask mandates for indoor and outdoor public spaces in areas with more than six coronavirus cases per 1,000 residents, including the capital.
Romania, which is home to some 19 million people, ranks second-lowest for vaccinations across the 27-member state EU bloc, with less than 28% of the population vaccinated with two doses. On Tuesday, Romania began ‘recommending’ a booster jab, and sought to make vaccinations mandatory for doctors and other healthcare staff.
With a total of 1.24 million officially recorded cases and some 37,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, Romania has seen a sharp spike in new infections over the past weeks, as authorities fear hospitals will soon run out of intensive care units.
Meanwhile, in France, some 48,000 people hit the streets for the ninth consecutive weekend of protests. Rallies began in mid-July after President Emmanuel Macron’s government introduced a system that made presenting a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test obligatory for those wishing to visit a restaurant, theater, cinema, or shopping mall, as well as those traveling on long-distance trains.