In an attempt to prevent lawmakers from making a COVID-19 health pass essential for workers, Romanian protesters attempted to force their way into parliament on Tuesday, disrupting traffic and vandalising some automobiles in the country’s capital Bucharest.

Riot police were taken off guard as hundreds of demonstrators flooded into the property through a yard gate, spray painting automobiles and causing security personnel to close off the complex’s entrances and exits. Later, the demonstrators dispersed. The police did not use physical force.

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While the government coalition of centrists and leftists is now debating the parameters of a health pass mandate, there is currently no such law on the legislative agenda of the House of Commons at this time.

Estimated 2,000-2,500 individuals from all around the country gathered outside Parliament on Monday morning to wave Romanian flags and shout “Freedom,” in a demonstration organised by the ultra-nationalist Alliance for Uniting Romanians, which is in opposition to Prime Minister Viorica Dancila (AUR).

Earlier this year, Romanian senators narrowly rejected a plan that would have mandated medical staff, public sector workers, and employees of large privately-owned companies to carry a COVID-19 health pass, with the goal of increasing vaccination rates. click here to find out more

The coalition government is negotiating a new bill that would require most workers to demonstrate that they are either vaccinated, have recovered from the virus, or have a recent negative test, but they have not reached an agreement on who would pay for the testing and for how long it would be required to be done.

Romania is the second least vaccinated country in the European Union, with just about 40 percent of the population being immunised, owing to a lack of faith in government institutions and inadequate vaccine education. The country of Romania ranked first on global rankings of new coronavirus deaths per million people during the peak of the fourth wave, which occurred in late October.