Corruption and Conflagration: (In)Justice and Protest in Bucharest after the Colectiv Fire

Remus Creţan, Thomas Anthony O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fire in the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania in October 2015 led to sustained, nationwide protests that forced the resignation of the government. These protests drew on deep-seated feelings of injustice due to rampant corruption among the political elite. The capital city location provided an opening for spontaneous actions to present claims to power holders. We aim to identify how the urban space was used to initiate and scale up a meaningful challenge to the governing system by examining the evolution of these protests. Through analysis of interviews with protest participants and nonparticipants resident in Bucharest, we identify factors that mobilized participants and how these built and reinforced the developing movement. The findings emphasize the importance of (capital) cities in incubating social movements, by providing spaces to organize challenges to institutional actors from the local to the national level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-388
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020

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  • Protest
  • Romania
  • Urban Movements
  • Corruption

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