Romania: second night of protests after 450 injured in clashes

13 Agosto, 2018, 03:00 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Romania: second night of protests after 450 injured in clashes

The violence began when some in the crowd tried to break into the government building - but were held back by the police security cordon. "Resignation!". They also chanted "Thieves, thieves", waving Romanian, U.S., North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union flags. Some individuals lobbed rocks, bottles and smoke bombs at riot police.

Romanian protesters gathered in major cities across the country to call for early elections.

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".

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

More than 400 people required medical assistance, the emergency intervention agency ISU said, including two riot police who became separated from their unit.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis condemned the "brutal intervention of the riot police" which left 70 people in need of medical attention.

The demonstrations stem from some Romanians' long-standing frustrations with the ruling Social Democrats (PSD).

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. Messages projected on buildings around the square said "We are the people" and "No violence".

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.

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The money provides a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries. "I'm here to try and change something", he said.

Local media said up to 80,000 people had taken to the streets, among them many Romanian expatriates who returned home to show their anger at the graft in one of the EU's most corruption-plagued member states.

Rallies have been repeatedly held since the leftist government took power in early 2017 and attempted to roll back corruption protections.

This year it pushed changes to the criminal code through parliament that have raised concerns from the European commission and U.S. state department. The changes are pending Constitutional Court challenges.

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.

Some politicians from the ruling coalition derided the rally in the run up, saying they did not understand why the diaspora would protest.

Podut said: "Almost all of the public sector is malfunctioning, it must be changed completely and replaced with capable people".

The rallies had featured thousands of Romanian expatriates returning from their homes overseas.

Protesters gather during a demonstration in Bucharest, Romania, on August 10, 2018.

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