Published: Tue, August 14, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Anti-govt corruption protests in Romania injure 440

Anti-govt corruption protests in Romania injure 440

The Guardian - Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied in cities across Romania against the ruling Social Democrat (PSD) government, with riot police in the capital, Bucharest, firing tear gas into the crowd and hundreds needing medical attention.

Other protesters were seen throwing paving slabs at the police, who responded with tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon. More than 450 people were injured.

"I firmly condemn riot police's brutal intervention, strongly disproportionate to the actions of the majority of people", he said.

Three journalists said they were also subjected to police violence.

Around 150,000 gathered in Bucharest previous year after the government passed a decree that could free those jailed on corruption charges. They are urging the government to resign and call a new election.

Thousands of people demonstrated also in Cluj Napoca, Sibiu and Timisoara in Transylvania, in the eastern city of Iasi or Black Sea port of Constanta.

An estimated 3 million Romanians live overseas, and some say they left because of corruption, low wages and a lack of opportunities. Protesters threw bottles at police and other items.

So far the protest near the government offices has been noisy but peaceful.

But Iohannis' party does not control the legislature, where the Social Democratic Party leads a coalition government that has repeatedly attempted to reduce punishments for corruption.

But in July, Laura Codruta Kovesi, the leading anti-corruption prosecutor, was fired.

"Romania is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in Europe and it's been that way for years", NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson wrote in 2014.

Iohannis has been at loggerheads with the PSD, accusing it of attempting to weaken the fight against corruption, putting pressure on the judicial system, and of implementing bad fiscal policies. Sebastian Kurz, chancellor of Austria, which holds the European Union rotating presidency said: "We strongly condemn the violent clashes in Bucharest where numerous demonstrators and journalists were injured".

Fridays protest was the largest in months, coming about 18 months after a February 2017 demonstration in Romania when a half-million people took to the streets to protest an emergency decree that decriminalized low-level corruption. "We expect a full explanation.

I am one of those who support this idea of making a huge PSD rally again", PSD's deputy secretary general Codrin Stefanescu said at local news television Romania TV, local Mediafax reported.

Like this: