World Media

Romanians protest govt corruption for 2nd straight day

Romanians protest govt corruption for 2nd straight day

Romania, a former Communist bloc country, joined the European Union in 2008, but remains under a special mechanism monitoring the status of its judicial reforms and the fight against corruption.

In addition to protesters, some police officers were also injured when protesters retaliated, with some reportedly throwing bottles.

Romanians protested against corruption in Bucharest and major provincial cities for a second day running on Saturday, demanding the Social Democrat government's resignation.

Friday's protest organized on social media by groups of Romanians living overseas and returning for their summer vacation was one of the largest and brought to Victoriei Square over 100,000 people.

Police have clashed with tens of thousands of anti-government protesters across Romania.

But President Klaus Iohannis, a critic of the left-wing government, condemned "the brutal intervention of riot police" on Friday night.

Some protesters threw bottles and other objects at police, who used tear gas and water cannon in retaliation, resulting in people on both sides requiring brief medical attention. He also said he requested the attorney general look into the legality of the riot police's intervention.

According to the World Bank, up to a quarter of the Romanian population - between three and five million people - live and work overseas, sending back around $US5bn to one of the EU's least developed countries.

Jobs numbers up, but rate hike not necessarily on way
Average hourly wages in July, a figure watched closely by the central bank, rose by 3.0 percent from a year earlier. In total there were 34,700 who were unemployed in July, up from 34,400 in June.

People shine the lights of their mobile phones during a protest outside the government headquarters, in Bucharest, Romania, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. "Unfortunately, it is still not possible, the ... people who govern us are not qualified and they are corrupt", he said, adding he hoped the next parliamentary election would see a bigger turnout. The AP said that Georgian Enache, a police spokesman, said the police pushback on Friday was "legitimate state violence" because protesters were refusing to leave despite warnings.

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 PSD also reportedly threatened to discuss suspending him if he put the move off any longer.

Ileana Anghel travelled all the way from her home in Spain with her husband to take part in the demonstration.

Critics say Romania has lost ground in fighting corruption since the ruling Social Democratic Party assumed power in 2016.

Before Kovesi's sacking, thousands of protesters took to the streets in support of her.

"We strongly condemn the violent clashes in Bucharest where numerous demonstrators and journalists were injured".

"We expect full explanations", he wrote.

After Iohannis criticized the police response to Friday's demonstration, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said Iohannis was "inciting the population against the authorities", AFP reported. At least one injured journalist worked for an Austrian news outlet.


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