Romanians storm Hague embassy after polling station closed before they could vote

Dutch police officer
Dutch police officer. (Photo: Joeppoulssen/DepositPhotos)

The police had to intervene at the Romanian embassy in The Hague on Sunday after a group of furious eligible voters stormed the embassy. The embassy closed its doors - and therefore also that of the polling station inside - at 8:00 p.m., before many Romanian voters, many of whom had stood in line for hours, could cast their vote. As far as is known, no arrests were made, RTL Nieuws reports.

Many people were still standing in line in front of the embassy to vote in the European Parliament elections and an anti-corruption referendum in Romania when the embassy closed its doors. The furious crowd stormed the embassy, climbing over fences around the embassy and ramming its doors with metal objects. The police intervened to calm the situation down.

The long lines at Romanian polling stations were not limited to the Netherlands, but occurred throughout Europe, according to RTL Nieuws. Writer and Romania expert Stefan Popa believes that this may have been a deliberate strategy from the Romanian authorities, he said to the broadcaster.

"The ruling party already tried this trick, during the previous presidential elections in 2014, and it then cost them the president", Popa said. "The presidential candidate for the socialists at the time, Victor Ponta, was very unpopular with Romanians abroad. Many of their members were investigated for corruption. Now they are also trying to get through all kinds of corruption laws, so that the party's boss does not end up behind bars."

In the 2014 elections, there were far too few voting facilities - like voting booths and employees - in Europe, resulting in long queues everywhere and many people being unable to cast their vote. This time the Romanian authorities doubled the number of voting stations, but there were still long lines everywhere. 

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