In a statement sent to the Agence France-Presse news agency on Saturday, fossil fuel giant Chevron confirmed it "has suspended activities" in an area near the Romanian town of Pungesti as the result of what it termed the "unsafe conditions generated by unlawful and violent protester activities."
The protesters, however, claimed victory as hundreds of them gathered in the cold on Saturday, chanting, "Chevron, Go Home!"
"We want our soil to stay free from pollution, we want Chevron to leave," one of the protesters, Adrian Pana, 33, told AFP on Saturday.
Global campaigners against the controversial extraction technique expressed solidarity with the Pungesti protesters:
— Frack Off (@Frack_Off) December 7, 2013
RT.com offered this report:
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As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, the villagers have been staging protests and occupying an encampment near the drilling site in order to fend off Chevron's exploratory drilling for months. Clashes with riot police on Monday heightened tensions, and though some protesters were dragged away, the protests have only intensified.
As the AFP adds:
Many in this rural region oppose the highly controversial drilling technique used to extract shale gas known as "hydraulic fracturing" or "fracking".
Widely used in some US states like Pennsylvania and North Dakota, it has been banned in France and Bulgaria because of potential pollution to air and water.
Protesters also called for the resignation of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who opposed shale gas while in the opposition but became a promoter once in power.