Romania Sees Renewed Anti-government Protests after Friday’s Violent Clashes with Riot Police
Bucharest and other cities across Romania saw a second day of anti-government protests on Saturday, after Friday’s violent clashes with riot police during what became known as the Diaspora Rally.
Over 400 people, including two police officers, were injured in Bucharest in Friday night’s clashes, as dozens of thousands of Romanians, including many Romanian expats living abroad, demanded the resignation of the country’s government led by the Social Democrats (PSD).
The protesters are angry over the rampant corruption, government measures and policies designed to roll back progress made in recent years in tackling it, moves against the judiciary as well as the low wages in comparison to other EU member states.
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Bucharest’s Victory (Victoriei) Square on Saturday evening for another protest against the PSD-ALDE government, The Romania Insider reports.
Friday night’s clashes with the riot police in Bucharest are said to have motivated many people to take to the streets on Saturday as well.
Many of the participants in Friday’s “diaspora rally” traveled back to Romania from thousands of kilometers away. They were also joined by local residents indignant of the moves and policies of Romania’s Social Democrat government and the ruling coalition behind it.
Saturday’s anti-government rally in the Romanian capital, however, was peaceful, with more restraint on part of both the protesters and the riot police who were accused by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis of using excessive force the previous night.
The demonstrators in Bucharest shouted slogans against the government and lit up their phones at 9 pm and then once again at 10 pm.
Several opposition leaders were seen among the protesters, including liberal leader Ludovic Orban.
Representatives of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) claim that the recent protests are set up by the opposition and president Klaus Iohannis to try and overthrow the legitimate government.
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea has accused Iohannis of being the political patron of the violent protest on Friday.
Civil society protests in Romania have been flaring up since early 2017 over policies seemingly designed to reverse progress in the country’s fight against corruption.
(Banner image: Video grab from Romania Insider)