Arriving in front of the government building in the City of the Last Eclipse, the protesting crowd can no longer advance. Those in the front rows fidget and shake their placards nervously as a sign of rebellion. The video cameras do not miss the moment. Slogans move frantically over the crowd, as if come alive: “Down with the pandemic! Down with the government! Down with the mask! Open the bars! Open the discos! Let us live! Give us the nightlife back! Set the arcade games free! Down with the fines for Covid-19! Down with vaccinations! Don’t poison us! Open the stadiums!”
A short order follows. The gendarmes take a defensive position, protecting themselves behind transparent shields and brandishing their batons. Someone from the other camp swears, throwing a Molotov cocktail at the gendarmes, which fires up instantly on a gendarme’s shield. The soldier is fighting desperately to get rid of the tool that is burning like a torch. He is helped by a colleague who directs the jet of an extinguisher towards the one in danger.
Suddenly, a water cannon sweeps through the crowd in the front line, knocking them down with a powerful jet. There are screams and wails among the protesters. Some of the banners are pierced by the force of the water, others are broken and scattered around. Civilians back away stunned and wet. The military takes advantage of the situation, gathering as many as they can get and isolating them in vans. The protesters are not discouraged, despite their inability to cope with the gendarmes and their attack technique.
An authoritative voice resounds clearly through a megaphone.
“Stop the protests immediately. The prime minister is willing to accept a dialogue with the group heading the protests.”
An unbelievable silence falls on the boulevard in front of the government. A group of five people belonging to the protesters climbs the government stairs fiercely, entering the building. They are accompanied by the gendarmerie.
There is an unnatural silence in the reception hall. Fornael Mitu, the head of the government, beckons the newcomers to sit down at the negotiating table. He is accompanied by the Minister of Interior, Luciferica Volderam, and by the Minister of Defense, Niculaita Onisor Maciuca. The Minister of Labor, Mrs Reli Turcan, and Scorojila Tampleanu from Education are also there. Elma Basanescu was brought to take down a record of the proceedings directly from Brussels, from the EU Parliament, where she recorded a series of remarkable “successes” ever since her father was the big boss in Cortocioaia, where, in the middle of the night, his gondoliers would bring Cariye Nuptzi to charm him a little with her newest purse, made of the finest crocodile skin, while the home pigeons tweeted to the rhythm of the beautiful song “Why do we love Cariyes only at night.”
Fornael Mitu takes a deep breath of air, since he does not like to take in anything else; he then looks at the group of protesters languidly for a moment.
“Guys, what is it you want from us now, so that we can end this national quarrel once and for all. Because it is a shame to have the whole of Europe laugh at the City of the Last Eclipse.”
“We, Mr Prime Minister, want down with the pandemic, stop supporting it. Down with the mask, so that we don’t suffocate, we’re not getting enough air anymore. Open all restaurants, bars, and nightclubs for the entire night. You can close them during the day. Stop lying to the people about the pandemic. That’s what we want,” Mrs Fofoloaca puffs up, turning her heavy body towards Mitu and almost knocking him down from his chair as the head of government. “We, the A.O.R., meaning the Association of Romanians from all Over, want masks not be worn anymore, us not to be lied to about Covid anymore, because there is no such thing as Covid, and Romanians to be free to roam where and when they want.”
“And we also want, Mr Mitu,” Gogu Smintion-Lulean, the president of the A.O.R. party blows up, “that all forigners leave the country. There should be only Romanians left, because the forigners has come to snare us and keep us inside so that we are no longer free to unite with the country. ‘We are Romanians, we are Romanians,’” concludes festively and melodiously Gogu Smintion-Lulean to the applause of the stately Fofoloaca and the deacon Mircea, the latter playing the actor in A.O.R.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the A.O.R., stop the protest immediately and give me two days to see what we can do for your lordship.”
The evening falls shyly on the boulevard in front of the government in the City of the Last Eclipse, where the sanitation workers collect PET bottles, strips of banners, broken or half-burned shields, and thousands and thousands of masks thrown by peaceful protesters, led carefully and with national patriotism by the young A.O.R. party.