(Reuters) – Thousands of Romanians across the country protested on Thursday against Chevron‘s plans to explore for shale gas, demanding the country’s leftist government withdraw concessions and ban drilling of the U.S. company’s first test wells.
About 500 rallied in the town of Barlad on the eastern border with Moldova where Chevron has a nearby 1.6 million acre concession, some wearing gas masks, many chanting “Chevron go home“. Chevron has exploration rights for three blocks of 670,000 acres near the Black Sea, and has also bought the concession close to Barlad for an undisclosed amount.
As I was noting in a related post, today’s street protest adds up to several civil society protests in areas such as Constanta or Barlad that have started last year in the winter of Romanian austerity discontent when the now Government in office was overtly opposing shale gas extraction in Parliament. The tables having turned by the end of 2012, PM Victor Ponta said he was backing shale gas exploration and might consider exploitation.
Protesters also complain about lack of significant media coverage from news channels still very much caught in a bitter political feud emphasizing the fact that certain news channels close to the Government in office willingly avoid coverage of shale gas protests. Is that so? Very much so unfortunately.
And another pic from the anti-Chevron protest in Cluj-Napoca: