Tens of Thousands Protest Corruption in Romania
Antigovernment protests in the Romanian capital turned violent Friday night as the police clashed with protesters, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. More than 240 people, including some security personnel, were reported injured.
Iranpress/europe :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.
An estimated 100,000 people gathered throughout the day in Bucharest’s Piata Victoriei to express their anger at the government, with tens of thousands protesting in other cities across the country. Chief among their grievances are Legislative changes that many say will weaken the rule of law.
Friday’s protests were organised and promoted by groups of Romanians working abroad, angry at what they say is entrenched corruption, low wages and attempts by the PSD to weaken the judiciary in one of the European Union’s most corrupt states.
In Bucharest, some protesters attempted to force their way through security lines guarding government buildings. Others threw bottles and rocks at riot police, who called the groups “provocateurs”.
As the protest continued well into the night, riot police used a water cannon and increasingly sprayed tear gas into the crowd. Video footage posted on social media show police beating non-violent protesters holding their hands up.
The protests came about 18 months after protesters staged the largest demonstration in Romania since the revolution that overthrew communism in 1989.
In February 2017, a half-million people took to the streets to oppose an emergency decree that effectively decriminalized low-level corruption. Since then, the Social Democrat-led government has continued to push through legislation that critics believe will undo anticorruption steps taken after Romania joined the European Union in 2007.