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Tens of Thousands Protest Against Corruption in Romania

Tens of Thousands Protest Against Corruption in RomaniaTens of Thousands Protest Against Corruption in Romania

Tens of thousands of people rallied against anti-corruption legislation in Romania’s capital Bucharest, braving heavy snow, as well as a large police presence.

The protests were organized on Saturday after the leftist-leaning, ruling Social Democrats (PSD) passed new legislation last month that critics say will make it harder to prosecute crime and high-level corruption, Al Jazeera reported.

President Klaus Iohannis, who is a critic of the bills, still needs to sign them into law.

The protesters briefly scuffled with riot police in Bucharest. There were smaller protests in the cities of Cluj, Timisoara, Constanta, Bacau, Sibiu and Iasi.

The European Union has spoken out and urged Romania to do more to prevent and tackle high-level corruption.

Romania joined the EU in 2007 and is subject to special monitoring of the judiciary and the rule of law.

More than 90 Romanian former ministers, deputies and senators have been indicted by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption unit since 2006.

But Brussels has been accused of being too soft on the former communist state.

The scale of the protest is nothing new in Romania’s history. Tens of thousands took to the streets in 1989 in a mass uprising, which led to the downfall of the communist leader Nicolae Caeusescu.

Memories of that revolution seem rife nearly 30 years later. “No communists, no criminals, no corrupts,” one of the banners read in English at Saturday’s demonstration.

 

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