Thousands of Romanians living or working abroad returned to the Romanian capital to demand the government’s resignation and calling for early elections. The government recently pushed legislative changes in parliament that were considered by civil society to weakening the nation’s fight against corruption. (EPA)
Al Jazeera reports that the Romanian police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters in the capital, Bucharest, as tens of thousands took to the streets to call on the country’s government to resign. At least 100 people require medical attention after police fire tear gas on protesters rallying in capital, Bucharest.
Euronews said there were up to 60,000 people at Friday’s rally, according to Agerpres, Romania’s national news agency. The demonstrators, who called for the resignation of the Social Democrat Party-led government, were generally peaceful but some tried to break through a security line and tear gas was fired.
It is the latest rally in a series of demonstrations that have plagued the government since they came to power two-and-a-half years ago. Protesters are upset about moves to weaken the judiciary and decriminalise some corruption offences.
Daniel Ostafi, who moved to Italy in the early 2000s, was among those who crossed Europe to take part in Friday’s demonstration
“I left to give my children a better life, which was not possible here then,” said Ostafi. “Unfortunately, it is still not possible, the … people who govern us are not qualified and they are corrupt.”
But the regular protests have done little to change the direction of the ruling PSD, who were elected with 45% vote share in late 2016.
Romania ranks as one of the EU’s most corrupt states and Brussels keeps its justice system under special monitoring.
Several politicians from the ruling coalition derided the rally in the run up, saying they did not understand why the diaspora would protest.