Romania protests: Thousands rally against government for second night
13 August, 2018, 02:59 | Author: Myra Gill
Tens of thousands of Romanians flocked to an anti-government protest in Bucharest on Friday, urging the left-wing government to resign and call an early election.
Eyewitness reports suggest that what had been a peaceful protest against government corruption degenerated when a hard core of trouble-makers attacked the police.
Critics say Romania has lost ground in fighting corruption since the ruling Social Democratic Party assumed power in 2016.
Protesters gather during a demonstration in Bucharest, Romania, on August 10, 2018.
"The people who rule have no connection with ordinary people".
Mr Ostafi said: "I left to give my children a better life, which was not possible here then".
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.
Marius Militaru, spokesman for Romania's riot police, said 70 people, including 11 riot police, were taken to hospitals the previous night, and police are pursuing charges against eight people. Dozens of others were treated at the scene.
Romanian police clash with anti-government protesters - "The protesters demand the resignation of the government, objecting to the perceived efforts to weaken the judiciary by the governing Social Democrats (PSD), as well as low wages and entrenched corruption in the country".
Some protesters attempted to force their way through security lines guarding the government building.
Friday's protest organized on social media by groups of Romanians living overseas and returning for their summer vacation was one of the largest and brought to Victoriei Square over 100,000 people.
Protesters in Bucharest Victoriei Square on Saturday evening.
Another police spokesman, Georgian Enache, said "the legitimate state violence" was justified because protesters had been warned several times to leave the square.
As the protest continued well into the night, riot police used a water cannon and increasingly sprayed tear gas into the crowd. Others threw bottles and rocks at riot police, who said groups of "provocateurs" were present in the square.
Interior Minister Carmen Dan also came out in support of the police who had not "intervened against peaceful protesters but against risky hooligans who attacked the state's authority".
President Klaus Iohannis, an opponent of the Socialist Democrat-led government and a vocal critic of its corruption policy, criticised the police reaction as "brutal".
Three journalists also said they were roughed up by police.
Austrian public broadcaster ORF said Saturday that one of its cameramen had been beaten by police while a TV presenter was shoved up against a wall. A journalist filming the rally Romania's Hotnews online news site said he was kicked and shoved by riot police.
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