As the massacre in Palestine continues at a monstrous scale, millions of people worldwide, including Jews, are expressing their solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
Saturday, January 13th, was marked by significant mobilizations in Romania in support of the Palestinian struggle. Protests surged through the streets of Bucharest, Timisoara, and Cluj Napoca. It was the first time such mobilizations simultaneously took place in three major cities of the country, aligning with the global antiwar movement. Demonstrators emphasized Romania’s indirect involvement in the crimes of the Zionist Israeli regime, pointing to its contracts with the military company Elbit Systems, despite the fact that it is a signatory to the UN Convention against Genocide. Elbit Systems owns facilities and contracts in the country and produces weapons and artillery for imperialistic purposes.
The Socialist Action Group (GAS), the affiliate of ISp in Romania, actively participated in demonstrations in both Cluj-Napoca and Bucharest. We joined the protests with anti-imperialist slogans and issued an appeal to workers in Elbit-owned and Elbit-contracted factories, urging them to strike against the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.
In Cluj-Napoca, despite the biting cold, hundreds of people braved the weather, responding to a call for protest by PalestineSolidarity.CJ, an anti-imperialist and anti-racist collective, under the banner “Romania, don’t forget, Gaza is your fault too!” Both GAS and PSCJ used slogans against Elbit Systems’ operations in Romania, opposing the arming of the Israeli regime and denouncing imperialism. We stand against any form of complicity by the Romanian state in the Gaza massacre, aligning ourselves with the international struggle for the revolutionary goal of freeing Palestine from occupation, blockade, and apartheid.
The march in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle in Bucharest kicked off in front of the National Theatre, attracting over 300 participants. With hundreds of Palestinian flags waving in the background, speeches highlighted the continuous functioning of the Israeli army as a genocidal machine fueled by the USA. Historical colonialist statements from Israel’s and America’s rulers were recounted, emphasizing the hypocrisy and complicity of Western states, illustrating the role of corporations and media institutions in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, and specifying the concrete economic and political collaboration of the Romanian state (through companies like Elbit Systems) with Israeli military institutions in perpetuating genocide.
Many statements underscored the anti-colonial and anti-capitalist character of the movement. Slogans included “Free Palestine,””We Want Freedom, We Want Justice,””Save the Children of Gaza,””Stop the Genocide,” and “Ceasefire Now.” New additions to the slogans were heard, such as “South Africa thank you, Palestine loves you,””From Bucharest to Palestine, stop the US war machine,” and “Palestine don’t give in, Gaza, we won’t leave.”
In Timișoara, a demonstration organized in Rozelor Park by the Iedera Social Center featured slogans like “Stone by stone, wall by wall, Apartheid shall fall!” Palestinian families residing in the city participated, and despite its smaller size, the protest garnered significant media coverage.
Police Repression of Protesters
In contrast to the demonstration in Cluj, authorities in Bucharest took a repressive stance. The slogan “From the river to the sea…” was not chanted by demonstrators due to past police harassment of organizers, citing a questionable pretext of inciting violence.
Despite that, the Jandarmerie (Romanian armed riot police) heavily patrolled Bucharest, intimidating demonstrators without providing a clear explanation. Protesters were also prohibited from displaying placards with the message “Elbit Systems out of Romania.” These instances of abuse by the state’s oppressive apparatus are sadly not surprising and reveal that the campaign against Elbit is touching sensitive interests of the Romanian and international warmongering capitalist class.
Since October 7, Western imperialist authorities have attempted, unsuccessfully, to silence those supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation. Despite censorship and oppression, Western governments have failed to quell the mass movement, and Romania will be no exception. Further protests are planned in the near future, as our struggle will persist until the occupation comes to an end.
GAS Appeal to Workers: Strike Against Genocide and War!
GAS issued a direct public appeal to workers and unions in Automecanica Moreni, a contractor of Elbit, as well as in other Elbit-operated factories. The appeal suggested a strike against the ongoing genocide, with the goal of cancelling relevant contracts, nationalizing the factories, and re-tooling them. Here’s the text of the appeal:
Israel’s genocidal military operation in the Gaza Strip is continuing until today. Over 22,000 people have been killed by the Israeli army since the aggression began, and many more have been displaced, losing their homes. In the West Bank, hundreds of people have been killed by Israeli settlers.
The brutality of Israel has sparked a robust global movement in defense of the Palestinian people’s right to exist. Millions have taken to the streets worldwide, engaging in strikes and work stoppages in solidarity with Palestine. In early December, over 1,000 organized British workers blockaded four arms factories in the UK. In Spain and Italy, employees at the Port of Barcelona and the Port of Genoa refused to load weapons onto ships for Israel and called for a ceasefire.
On January 13, several demonstrations are taking place in Romania – in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, and Timisoara. The current focus of the struggle is on the military company Elbit Systems, a transnational corporation supplying Israel with weapons globally, particularly ground invasion vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles. Elbit controls multiple factories in foreign territories, providing profits for financial capitalists, with its shares rising by over 20% in the last year.
Elbit Systems operates in Romania, owning three companies and four factories with over 500 employees: AE Electronics Bacău, Simultec Măgurele, and the two Elmet factories in Bacău and Bucharest. Amidst the genocide in Gaza, Elbit Systems and ROMARM signed a cooperation agreement for artillery production at the Moreni Automechanical Plant.
Weapons produced in Romania’s factories kill civilians in Gaza, sustaining Israel’s war machine. This benefits only the Israeli regime and military-industrial complex shareholders. We believe that factory employees have nothing to gain when domestic military production is subordinated to the interests of foreign contractors engaged in genocide, risking dragging the entire planet, including Romania, into a global war to defend imperialist objectives and profits.
We call for a strike against genocide and war!
Given the history of trade unionist strikes and mobilization in Moreni to defend wage rights, we call on the “Justice” Trade Union of Automecanica Moreni and company employees to protest by stopping work and denouncing the contract with Elbit Systems.
We call on employees of AE Electronics Bacău, Elmet, and Simultec Măgurele to cease activity and demand the nationalization of these factories for alternative purposes.
We call on transport employees to refuse to transport arms or any military materials to Israel and block the operation of such shipments on Romanian territory.
The mass movement for the liberation of Palestine is stronger than ever globally. However, victory over the architects of war can only be guaranteed with the support of workers who make the weapons and parts essential for conflict. Imperialism and the financialization of war propel us toward global conflicts where ordinary people perish while politicians and billionaires amplify their power.
International solidarity against war! We have nothing to lose!