Bucharest, Romania – Thousands of Romanians protested for the third day in a row on Sunday demanding the resignation of the government and Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
Violent clashes occurred on Friday night between riot police and protesters in the biggest anti-corruption protests since January 2017.
More than 450 people, including 30 riot police, were hurt and needed medical attention, according to officials. Security forces fired tear gas grenades and water cannon to disperse the crowd, after several violent outbursts with bottles and stones being thrown at police.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis condemned the police’s use of force in a comment on his Facebook page. “I firmly condemn the riot police’s brutal intervention, strongly disproportionate to the actions of the majority of people in the square,” he said.
Interior Minister Carmen Dan said riot police hadn’t “intervened against peaceful protesters, but against dangerous hooligans who attacked the state’s authority”.
Similar demonstrations were held in major cities such as Cluj, Sibiu, Timisoara, and Iasi as many Romanians returned from abroad angered by entrenched high-level corruption and the weakening of the judiciary.
Most Romanian diaspora are economic migrants. Low local wages have driven about four million Romanians to work abroad, almost one-quarter of the country’s population.