Tens of thousands defy cold to protest for 13th day

At least 60,000 gather in Bucharest to call for the government's resignation for trying to curb anti-corruption fight.

    Tens of thousands of Romanians have braved freezing temperatures to protest for a 13th consecutive day, demanding the resignation of the government for trying to curb the fight against corruption.

    At least 60,000 people on Sunday gathered in Victory Square in the capital, Bucharest, according to local media estimations.

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    Shouting "resign, resign", the protesters also formed a huge human Romanian flag in front of the government building, defying temperatures as low as -7 degrees Celsius. 

    There were also protests in the cities of Cluj, Sibiu, Iasi, and Timisoara, as well as a counter-demonstration in Bucharest outside the presidential palace.

    Public anger

    The mass protests started last month when the centre-left government passed an emergency decree that would have watered down laws that punish official corruption.

    Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu withdrew the decree after the biggest street protests since communism ended in 1989.

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    The emergency decree decriminalised criminal punishments for conflict of interest, work negligence and abuse of power cases in which the financial damage is valued at less than $48,000. 

    Justice Minister Florin Lordache resigned last week over widespread public anger.

    Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from the demonstration in Victory Square, said: "It is quite a big protest, against the expectations of many people who were fearing that the cold weather, and the fact that the government had rescinded this decree that really sparked all this popular anger, would have made many people stay at home."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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