Around 4,000 Romanian shepherds stormed Parliament building grounds in Bucharest today, carrying many signs with adorable dogs and wearing lots and lots of sheepskin. Although these details may conjure an image of a peaceful, if viral, protest, that it was not.
Horse-riding riot police hit the protesters, many of whom were blowing loud horns, with tear gas. According to the AP, one protester yelled, “I was born among the sheep and we will cut lawmakers’ heads off.”
The shepherds were protesting a new law that limits the number of sheepdogs they can use when herding the 10 million sheep and more than a million goats in the country — one sheepdog is allowed for shepherds in the plains, three for those in the mountains. Dogs that exceed the limit will be shot; the shepherds wisely did not bring dogs to the protest.
Their methods appear to be freaking out the right people; the country’s agricultural minister said on Tuesday that it was “urgent” that the law be changed.
This is not the first time shepherds have stormed the capital in a very dramatic fashion. Last time, when they protested new EU regulations in 2009, they brought many large sheep heads, horns and all, to help make their point. Back in October, shepherds in Spain managed to protest the fact that society seemed to be leaving their way of life behind by letting thousands of sheep loose in the streets of Madrid.