Szekler Freedom Day commemoration – After the Szekler National Council had previously obtained the necessary permits from the local police department for organising a march in commemoration of the Szekler martyrs and in support of Szeklerland’s autonomy, the Tîrgu-Mureș/Marosvásárhely City Hall issued a press release in which they imposed their own restrictions.
At first it seemed that the preparations would encounter no obstacles this year, as one of the organisers reported. Both the police and the Mureș County Prefect approved the Szekler National Council’s plans. On the same day however, the City Hall issued the following statement: ”If the organisers so wish, the Tîrgu-Mureș/Marosvásárhely City Hall will put the “Mihai Eminescu” Centre at their disposal, so that they may organise cultural activities there on the occasion of Szekler Freedom Day. The Tîrgu-Mureș/Marosvásárhely City Hall approved for 10 people to deliver a petition to the Prefect’s office, according to the legislation. Following the commemoration, the participants are allowed to leave the premises strictly on the pavement.”
Moreover, as in previous years, the City Hall only approved the commemorations at the site of the Szekler Martyrs memorial, but prohibited the march intended to take place afterwards. This despite the fact that, as the legal representative of the organisers pointed out, the 2016 and 2017 Szekler Freedom Day marches had been announced as early as the beginning of 2015, an announcement that the mayor’s office chose to ignore, even though a court ruling had deemed it legal. Under the law, the mayor could have forbidden the event in the first 48 hours following the announcement, which they failed to do, however. The mayor’s last minute attempt to prohibit the march in support of Szeklerland’s autonomy is all the more outrageous and insulting because they did not formally notify the organisers of their decision, but chose to deliver their message through a press release.
This is not the first time that the mayor of Tîrgu-Mureș/Marosvásárhely, Dorin Florea, abused of his power in order to prevent the Hungarian community from exercising their legal rights. The mayor’s previous transgressions include the banning of bilingual street name signs, even suing the civil rights group that had put them up, as well as conducting a veritable campaign against bilingual signs put up in a public school. His latest stance against the Szekler-Hungarian community is nothing new, as he has continuously tried to prevent the Szekler Freedom Day commemorations from taking place in recent years. This time he has done so under the cloak of tolerance, by allowing some of the planned events to take place (the commemoration of the martyrs), while attempting to ban others (the march for Szekler self-determination).
However, the people’s right to assemble cannot and must not be conditioned on the scope of a protest, since that would give way to discrimination.
Source: Mikó Imre Minority Rights Legal Services Assistance