Anti-govt corruption protests in Romania injure 440

Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment

Romanians protested against corruption in Bucharest and major provincial cities for a second day running on Saturday, demanding the Social Democrat government's resignation.

The rally, organized on social media under the motto "Diaspora at Home", called on Romanians living overseas to return home and gather at the square to protest what they say is a corrupt government.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to quell protesters.

More than 400 people required medical assistance, the emergency intervention agency ISU said, including two riot police who got separated from their unit. A journalist filming the rally Romania's Hotnews online news site said he was kicked and shoved by riot police.

Thousands of Romanians joined an anti-government rally in the capital Bucharest, Romania, on August 10, 2018.

Anti-government protesters rally at Victoriei Square in front of government headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, on Sunday.

Among the protesters was truck driver Daniel Ostafi, 42, who moved to Italy 15 years ago in search of a future he says Romania could not offer his family.

Another police spokesman, Georgian Enache, said "the legitimate state violence" was justified because protesters had been warned several times to leave the square. They sent home just under $5 billion past year, a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries.

Tens of thousands of people staged peaceful protests in other Romanian cities.

In 2015, Romania's prime minister - a member of the Social Democratic Party who was tried for corruption, fraud and tax evasion while he was in office - resigned after a deadly nightclub fire that was blamed in part on corruption and poor safety oversight.

In July, President Iohannis approved the dismissal of anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who had been leading corruption investigations into local and national politicians. The changes are pending Constitutional Court challenges.

Romania, a former Communist bloc country, joined the European Union in 2008, but remains under a special mechanism monitoring the status of its judicial reforms and the fight against corruption.

In early 2017, Romanian protesters took to the streets in response to a decree that loosened corruption laws.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country now holds the European Union rotating presidency, criticised the violence, which also saw a cameraman for Austria's public broadcaster hurt. "We expect full explanations", he said on Twitter.

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