Romanian expats stage huge anti-govt protest in BucharestAugust 10, 2018 9:15pm

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Tens of thousands of Romanians flocked to an anti-government protest from places near and far as local residents joined a demonstration organized by expatriates Friday, urging the left-wing government to resign and call an early election.

The expatriates supporting the event in Bucharest, some of whom drove across Europe to attend, said they were angry at how Romania is being governed. Critics say the country has lost ground in fighting corruption since the ruling Social Democratic Party assumed power in 2016.

An estimated 3 million Romanians live abroad, and some say they left because of corruption, low wages and a lack of opportunities.

"We don't want our country to be governed by thieves who line their own pockets," said Georgeta Anghel, 43, who has lived in Spain for 14 years. "If nothing changes here, what kind of future will our son have?"

Some participants scuffled with riot police when they tried to break through a police line guarding the government offices. Several people were detained, and police fired tear gas multiple times. Late Friday, officers fired water cannon.

The Bucharest-Ilfov Ambulance service said more than 200 people received medical treatment, both protesters and police officers. Some sustained head injuries, while others were overcome by the tear gas, the service said.

Romania's President Klaus Iohannis, a critic of the government, said he "firmly condemned the brutal intervention of riot police," which he called disproportionate reaction to a protest where most were peaceful.

Romania ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the European Union and Brussels keeps its justice system under special monitoring.

Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democrats, received a 3½-year prison sentence for abuse of power in office, a decision he is appealing. Dragnea was unable to be prime minister when his party won the December 2016 parliamentary election due to a vote-rigging conviction earlier that year.

"This government is crassly incompetent and corrupt," said Mircea Campeanu, a medical auditor living in the Netherlands who drove to Romania to attend the protest.

Hundreds of thousands of Romanians have signed a petition demanding a law that would ban people indicted for corruption and other offenses from political office, but it's unlikely to pass since the Social Democrats and their allies have a majority in Parliament.

The protesters in the capital on Friday waved Romanian, European Union, Spanish, Italian and other national flags, banged drums, yelled "Justice, not corruption!" and called the ruling party "the red plague." They projected the words: "Down with the government" on a government building.

Cristina Andrei arrived from Stockholm, Sweden, where she lives now with her two sons.

"I've come here for my children, who don't know how to read or write Romanian," the 42-year-old cashier said. "This country is rich and beautiful, but it's run by thieves."

Thousands protested in other Romanian cities.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, center, takes a selfie before his discussion with Public Policy Institute of California President Mark Baldassare in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. McCarthy is focused on helping Republicans maintain control of Congress in the midterm elections. (Renee C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee via AP)
GOP's McCarthy slams California Democrats, faces heckling
Polish president vetoes law on EU Parliament electionsThe Polish president has vetoed a law on elections to the European Union Parliament that would have benefited large political parties and made it harder for small parties to reach a threshold to get seats
Doctors, nurses protest rule of Venezuela's socialist leaderRiot police have blocked hundreds of doctors and nurses marching toward Venezuela's presidential palace to protest low pay and shortages of medical supplies in the nation's deepening crisis
Russian court frees from jail 2 teenagers in extremism caseMoscow court releases two teenagers facing extremism charges from jail and puts them under house arrest
Polish Army soldiers salute as tanks roll on one of the city's main streets during a yearly military parade celebrating the Polish Army Day in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. Poland marks Army Day with a parade and a call for US permanent military base in Poland.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Poland marks Army Day with parade, call for US military base
Russian President Vladimir Putin, attends a meeting during the 5th Caspian summit in Aktau, the Caspian Sea port in Kazakhstan, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Putin to attend Austrian foreign minister's wedding

Related Searches

Related Searches