Thousands surround Romania's government headquarters for second day of corruption protests
13 August, 2018, 03:00 | Author: Lucille Rivera
"Resignation!". They also chanted "Thieves, thieves", waving Romanian, U.S., North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union flags.
About 1,000 officers in riot gear intervened to clear the crowds assembled in a central square outside the main government building after some protesters tried to break through the police cordon.
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. Reuters reported that at least 400 people sought medical attention and that the protests were organized in large part by Romanian expats working outside of the country.
Police have clashed with tens of thousands of anti-government protesters across Romania.
In a statement issued Friday night, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis condemned the "brutal intervention of the Gendarmerie", saying their actions were "strongly disproportionate with the demonstrations of the majority of people in Victoria Square".
Some protesters in the capital Bucharest threw bottles and paving slabs, while police used tear gas, pepper spray and even a water cannon. He also said he requested the attorney general look into the legality of the riot police's intervention.
An estimated three to five million Romanians work and live overseas, the World Bank has said, up to a quarter of the state's population, taking roles ranging from day labourers to doctors.
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On Friday, more than 50,000 people took to the streets against what they described as entrenched corruption and low wages. 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.
There were no immediate reports of life-threatening injuries, but Militaru said a female colleague had been "brutally beaten" and has a suspected fractured spine.
Around 30 police were also injured, 11 of whom were taken to hospital. In June, a dozen countries, including the United States, warned against amending legislation "that would weaken the rule of law or Romania's ability to fight crime or corruption". The changes are being challenged in the Constitutional Court. Sebastian Kurz, chancellor of Austria, which holds the European Union rotating presidency said: "We strongly condemn the violent clashes in Bucharest where numerous demonstrators and journalists were injured".
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, in turn, accused Iohannis of "inciting the population against the authorities" and "using the dramatic effects of the events".
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