Monday, 17 December, 2018

Hundreds Injured in Romania Protests as Emigrants Return to Fight Corruption

Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment Romanian police clash with anti-government protesters
Pablo Mccormick | 13 August, 2018, 03:03

"We want to return to Romania, but there's too much corruption and the health care is dismal", she told The Associated Press.

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

The antigovernment protest in Bucharest on August 10 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.

About 40,000 people gathered in front of government offices in the capital on Saturday evening - fewer than the 100,000 the previous night, shouting "Resignation!, Resignation!", blowing vuvuzelas and waving Romanian and European Union flags.

Press outlets around the world covered the protest that took place in Bucharest, Romania on August 10, dubbed the "Diaspora's protest" as Romanians who live overseas travelled back to the country to protest the Dancila government and demand snap elections to take down the PSD-ALDE coalition, which has a strong majority in the Parliament.

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Romanian President Klaus Iohannis criticized the heavy-handed police response, calling it a "brutal intervention, strongly disproportionate to the actions of the majority of people".

Several journalists, including an Austrian public television ORF cameraman, said they were attacked with tear gas by riot police. 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. "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.

Three journalists also said they were roughed up by police.

The New York Times: Violence Erupts as Tens of Thousands Protest Corruption in Romania - "An estimated 3 to 5 million Romanians are working and living overseas, the World Bank has said, up to a quarter of the European Union state's population, ranging from day laborers to doctors".

People attend a protest in Bucharest, Romania August 10, 2018, in this image taken from social media.

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Mr Iohannis had been under extensive pressure from the PSD government to agree to her removal.

There are no immediate reports of life-threatening injuries.

This summer, the PSD also moved forward with a judicial overhaul that some observers see as a threat to the rule of law in Romania.

Critics say Romania has lost ground in fighting corruption since the ruling Social Democratic Party assumed power in 2016. The changes are pending Constitutional Court challenges.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, in turn, accused Iohannis of "inciting the population against the authorities" and "using the dramatic effects of the events". "We expect full explanations", he said on Twitter.

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

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