The European Green Party (EGP) strongly supports the small community of Pungesti, Romania – a village under siege after a violent intervention of Riot Police Forces allegedly at the request of Chevron. The energy giant plans to explore for shale gas in the region endangering the health and livelihood of the local population. EGP Co-Chair Reinhard Bütikofer calls on the Romanian government to ensure that all violence is stopped and to listen to polls clearly stating that that Romanians don’t want their national resources exploited and destroyed for economic gain.
Chevron has resumed its search for shale gas in north-eastern Romania after hundreds of riot police have brutally removed villagers who had been camping at the site to protest the company’s plan. On Monday December 2 law enforcement officers surrounded the protesters camp and up to forty people were reportedly beaten detained and taken for further investigation. Journalists were not permitted at the scene.
Commenting on the incident Reinhard Bütikofer, Co-Chair of the European Green Party said:
“The fundamental right to peaceful protest must be protected across the EU. If these allegations prove to be true we condemn the abusive intervention that follows two months of harassment and intimidation of the local community in the strongest possible terms. It took place a day after the Romania National Day in the wider context of large protests both across Romania and Europe against shale gas fracking and the government's willingness to turn a blind eye to the use cyanide by multinational mining companies.
“We appeal to the Romanian government to abstain from any further brutality. We call on Prime Minister Victor Ponta to listen to polls clearly stating that Romanians don’t want their national resources exploited and destroyed for economic gain. Europe stands for respecting the rights of nature, liberty and human rights and governments must be held to this standard no matter what.
“The extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking ” is environmentally catastrophic. Pungesti is one of the poorest counties in Romania and people heavily depend on nature for a living. Villagers are rightly afraid of environmental and health impacts of the technology proven to contaminate water soil and air. The European Greens firmly support local communities who are standing up for their rights and protecting their local environment against economic interests. We stand in solidarity with the upcoming peaceful protest planned for this weekend in Pungesti.”