Friday, 19 October, 2018

Romanian police clash with anti-government protesters

Romanians take part in a demonstration in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest on Friday Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment
Jeannette Daniel | 13 August, 2018, 02:59

Tens of thousands also staged peaceful protests in other Romanian cities including Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi and Sibiu, marching against attempts to weaken the fight against corruption in the country. Some demonstrators lobbed rocks, bottles, and smoke bombs at riot police.

Thousands of Romanians joined an anti-government rally in the capital Bucharest, Romania August 11, 2018.

Several police officers were hurt on Friday as some protesters threw bottles and police used tear gas and water cannon.

Social media footage shows the protesters assembled on a large street scrambling as the police begin giving chase and shooting tear gas to control the crowd.

Romania's centre-right President Klaus Iohannis, a critic of the government, said he "strongly condemned the brutal intervention of the police, which was disproportionate to the attitude of most demonstrators" but added that "any form of violence is unacceptable".

"The Interior Ministry must explain urgently the way it handled tonight's events".

"We want to return to Romania, but there's too much corruption and the health care is dismal", said Isabela Conduruta, a 45-year-old who's worked as a cleaner for 12 years in Germany.

Thousands of Romanians rallied for a third day running on Sunday against the Social Democrat government in anti-corruption protests, demanding Prime Minister Viorica Dancila step down.

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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 $5bn (£3.9bn) to one of the EU's least developed countries. They sent home just under bn previous year, a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries. "I'm here to try and change something", he said.

Some of the estimated 3 million Romanians living overseas say they left because of corruption, low wages, and lack of opportunities.

Peaceful rallies have repeatedly been held since the Social Democrats took power in early 2017 and tried to decriminalise 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.

He praised Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi for her efforts and said he was forced to sign the decree after being ordered to do so by the Constitutional Court.

The protestors were organised by Romanian expat groups operating overseas. "I would ask our ruling politicians to switch places with us, work the way we do and see what that is like".

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

Diaspora rally in Victoria Square in Bucharest on August 10, 2018.

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