Romanian Protesters Return to the Streets for the Second Day

Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment

Romanians have taken to the streets on many occasions during the past year and a half after the ruling Social Democrats started to push legislation to relax the fight against corruption.

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.

About 40,000 demonstrators gathered in the city's Victoriei Square, blowing horns and shouting "Resignation!, Resignation!" to protest what they say is a corrupt government, according to Reuters. 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.

Press outlets around the world covered the protest that took place in Bucharest, Romania on August 10, dubbed the "Diaspora's protest" as Romanians who live overseas travelled back to the country to protest the Dancila government and demand snap elections to take down the PSD-ALDE coalition, which has a strong majority in the Parliament.

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".

It turned violent after riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.

Police said they had acted in a proportionate way, responding to the violent behaviour of hooligans in the crowd.

Local media said up to 80,000 people had taken to the streets, among them many Romanian expatriates who returned home to show their anger at the graft in one of the EU's most corruption-plagued member states.

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According to the World Bank, up to a quarter of the Romanian population - between three and five million people - live and work overseas, sending back around $US5bn to one of the EU's least developed countries. 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.

Romania has been criticized for its heavy response to Friday's protests. Among them were a number of politicians, including a senator and 28 mayors.

There are no immediate reports of life-threatening injuries.

The protestors were organised by Romanian expat groups operating overseas.

Critics say Romania has lost ground in fighting corruption since the ruling Social Democratic Party assumed power in 2016.

He praised Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi for her efforts and said he was forced to sign the decree after being ordered to do so by the Constitutional Court.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, in turn, accused Iohannis of "inciting the population against the authorities" and "using the dramatic effects of the events". "We expect a full explanation".

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