Thousands of Romanians rally to demand government's resignation

Thousands of Romanians rally to demand government's resignation

Thousands of demonstrators gathered Saturday in the Romanian capital Bucharest for a second straight day, after more than 450 people were hurt and around 30 arrested in a huge anti-corruption protest.

The protesters were demanding the resignation of the government, objecting to the perceived efforts to weaken the judiciary by the governing Social Democrats (PSD).

In return, the law enforcers scuffled with some, fired tear gas and used a water cannon. The Bucharest-Ilfov Emergency Service said that of those 65 people, including nine riot police, were taken to the hospital.

Romania's President Klaus Iohannis condemned the "brutal intervention of the Gendarmerie" in a statement issued late Friday night, saying their actions were "strongly disproportionate with the demonstrations of the majority of people in Victoria Square".

"The interior ministry must explain urgently the way it handled tonight's events".

Romania ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the European Union and Brussels keeps its justice system under special monitoring.

Rallies have been repeatedly held since the leftist government took power in early 2017 and attempted to roll back corruption protections.

Numerous demonstrators are Romanian expats who have returned from across Europe to voice their anger at the government.


Three journalists said they were also subjected to violence from the police.

The money provides a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries.

Romania, one of the EU's most corruption-plagued countries, has seen frequent protests in the past year and a half.

Tens of thousands of Romanians flocked to an anti-government protest in Bucharest on Friday, urging the left-wing government to resign and call an early election. Reuters reported that they were yelling "Resignation!" in front of government buildings.

Another police spokesman, Georgian Enache, said "the legitimate state violence" was justified because protesters had been warned several times to leave the square.

Around 150,000 gathered in Bucharest previous year after the government passed a decree that could free those jailed on corruption charges.

The demonstrations stem from some Romanians' long-standing frustrations with the ruling Social Democrats (PSD).

In July, President Iohannis approved the dismissal of anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who had been leading corruption investigations into local and national politicians. The changes are being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

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