“Brussels should pay attention to the Szeklers” – Day of Szekler Autonomy

Several dozen settlements in Szeklerland lit watchfires as a sign of Szeklerland’s demand for autonomy on Sunday evening. Participants at each location read a manifesto out loud to send a message to Brussels.

Border of Szeklerland
The border of Szeklerland outlined with candles. (Photo: László Beliczay/szekelyhon.ro)

The office manager of the event organizer, the Szekler National Council (SZNT), told kronikaonline.ro that because of the coronavirus pandemic, they organized the watchfires at far fewer settlements than in previous years.

SZNT President Balázs Izsák wrote a manifesto for the event, which was read out at each location. It pointed out that since more than 1,25 million people have already signed the petition of the European Citizens’ Initiative for the development of national regions, the case of the Szeklers and the other national regions have irrevocably become a European issue. (If you would like, you can still sign the petition until November 7 at signiteurope.com.)

 “We reiterate that the European Union needs to review the rigid and obsolete interpretation of the right to self-determination… We demand the European Union start engaging with Szeklers and other similar stateless nations of Europe, as opposed to serving the forces of globalization!”

– the proclamation reads.

The document emphasizes that the national regions do not hinder development but, in fact, do the opposite — they are the hidden resources of Europe. “Now that the coronavirus pandemic has opened a view to end the mass migration caused by the backward effects of the globalized world, the time has come to recreate the local conditions to build a new Europe!” says the proclamation. In the document, the SZNT leader also says it is unacceptable that in the 21st century, both Spain and Romania find imprisonment and retaliation the proper answer to the legitimate claim of their traditional national communities.

“The Catalan leaders, as well as the two Szekler youngsters convicted in the so-called “Szekler terror trial,” are both victims of show trials. As people dedicated to democracy, we denounce these methods used in dictatorships! We firmly reject relapsing into a Europe where state terror can once again persecute innocent citizens as part of politically motivated show trials,” says the manifesto, which was accepted by acclamation by the people gathered to light the watchfires.

The manifesto stated once again that the participants of the watchfire demonstrations claim Szeklerland’s territorial autonomy in the manner formulated by the SZNT’s statute.

The organizers asked the participants in advance to follow the pandemic regulations, so most participants wore masks and maintained the necessary social distance at the events.

Watchfires for Szekler autonomy since 2015

The Szekler National Council lit watchfires as a sign of Szeklerland’s demand for autonomy for the first time in 2015; the following year, it designated the last Sunday of October as the Day of Szekler Autonomy.

Related: Szekler autonomy no threat to Romania’s integrity

Title image: One of the watchfires lit for Szekler Autonomy. (The picture was taken at last year’s event in 2019.) (Photo: Edit Kátai /MTI)

Author: Attila Szoó