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Hungarians rally for Szekler Land autonomy in Romania

 
 
 
 
 
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Demonstrators in Transylvania, a historical region in the central part of Romania, pay tribute to the Szekely flag.

Thousands of ethnic Hungarians have demonstrated in the central Romanian city of Targu Mures, calling on the government of Romania to grant regional autonomy to the Szekler Land.

Szekler Land sits in three Romanian counties: Harghita, Covasna and Targu Mures, the first two of which have majority Hungarian populations.

Waving Szekler and national Hungarian flags, around five thousand ethnic Hungarian protesters on Sunday gathered in front of the Szekler Martyrs’ Monument that pays tribute to revolutionaries killed in 1854, AFP reported.

The protesters then marched through Targu Mures, a city that in March 1990 was the scene of violent clashes between ethnic Hungarians (or Szeklers) and Romanians.

“The Szekler Land must become an autonomous region and this must be enshrined in legislation,” Izsak Balazs, the head of the Szeklers’ National Council (CNS), told the participants.

“We are also protesting against the government’s regionalization draft, which threatens our people’s existence,” he added.

The “regionalization” plan initiated by the centre-left government seeks to group Romania’s 42 counties into eight regions.

The government says the measure aims to bring local government in line with European norms and make each of the country’s regions a functioning administrative unit.

Hungarians, however, are against the draft law, saying it will change the ethnic composition of the areas where they are now more numerous than the Romanians.

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