BUCHAREST, Romania — 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?”
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.
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.
Hundreds of thousands of Romanians have signed a petition demanding a law that would ban people indicted for corruption and other offenses …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News