Protest / Mineriada (1990-1999)

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25th Anniversary (1990-2015) – Decade of Mineriads

2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the start of the decade of Jiu Valley Mineriads.
Mineriad (Romanian: Mineriadă) is the term used to name any of the successive interventions of miners in Bucharest, Romania, during the post-1989 Revolution period of January 1990 to February 1999. These interventions were generally seen as aimed at wrestling policy changes or simply material advantages from the current political power. Jiu Valley coal miners had staged political protests before, from the Lupeni Strike of 1929 to the Jiu Valley miners’ strike of 1977, and minor protests after 1999.
Following the December 1989 overthrow of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceasescu, the coal miners of Jiu Valley got caught up in the quickly changing socio-economic upheaval and fluid political dynamics of post-Communist Romania. Barely a month after Ceausescu’s death, miners and other workers were manipulated by former regime supporters and local interests into traveling hundreds of miles to confront anti-Communist protesters in Bucharest. For the Jiu Valley coal miners, this “intervention” began a pattern of six “mineriads” over the next decade, whereby political actions by normally apolitical industrial workers were instigated by both local and outside individuals and groups in support of their agendas while the miners reacted aggressively and sometimes militantly as their mines were closed and their jobs and families’ livelihoods eliminated. The Mineriads undermined the iconic social status the miners had held under the Communist regime and radically tarnished the public’s perception of the miners and the Jiu Valley region. For the coal miners of Jiu Valley, the Mineriads were a decade of pyrrhic victories, decline and loss while they struggled for economic survival and respect.
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