Published: Mon, August 13, 2018

Romanians take to streets in anti-corruption protests

Romanians take to streets in anti-corruption protests

In Bucharest, some protesters attempted to force their way through security lines guarding government buildings. Some people lobbed rocks, bottles and smoke bombs at riot police.

Protesters carrying Romanian, European Union and other flags rallied Saturday outside government offices in Bucharest, the capital, the same place where the protest Friday had degenerated into violence.

The anti-government protest in Bucharest Friday drew tens of thousands Romanians from overseas and local residents who demanded the government resign over moves to change laws that critics say would make it harder to prosecute corruption.

The Guardian: Hundreds injured in Romania protests as emigrants return to fight corruption - "As the protest continued well into the night, riot police used a water cannon and increasingly sprayed tear gas into the crowd".

President Klaus Iohannis - who is a political opponent of the government - said in a tweet that he has asked the Romanian Attorney General to investigate the actions of both police and demonstrators in Friday nights clashes.

This time, the protest was peaceful, with no violent clashes.

More than 400 people required medical assistance, the emergency intervention agency ISU said, including 10 riot police injured by protesters.

Isabela Conduruta, a 45-year-old Romanian who's worked as a cleaner for 12 years in Germany, explained why she joined Saturday's protest.

An estimated 3 to 5 million Romanians are working and living overseas, the World Bank has said, or about a quarter of the European Union state's overall population. They sent home just under $5 billion previous year, a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries.

Mr Ostafi said: "I left to give my children a better life, which was not possible here then".

On Friday, more than 50,000 people took to the streets against what they described as entrenched corruption and low wages.

Peaceful rallies have repeatedly been held since the Social Democrats took power in early 2017 and tried to decriminalize several graft offences.

Iohannis, the European Commission, and the U.S. State Department criticized the proposed changes to judicial legislation, saying they could derail the rule of law. The changes are being challenged in the constitutional court.

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

Podut said: "Almost all of the public sector is malfunctioning, it must be changed completely and replaced with capable people". Romanians gathered for a second day of protest Saturday, a day after an anti-government protest turned violent leaving 455 people, including three dozen riot police, needing medical treatment.

About 15,000 people rallied in front of the government headquarters in the capital on Sunday, whistling, blowing vuvuzelas and shouting "Corruption kills!"

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