Bucharest Rally Marks 8th Day of Anti-Govt Protests in Romania

World | January 20, 2012, Friday // 20:39
Bulgaria: Bucharest Rally Marks 8th Day of Anti-Govt Protests in Romania A Romanian protester (L) is chased by a riot-policeman (R) as demonstrators were evacuated from University Plaza during a protest against Romania`s government in Bucharest, Romania, 19 January 2012. EPA/BGNES

Hundreds of people have gathered in Romania's capital for the eighth day late on Friday, raising fears of more violence that has tarred anti-government protests leaving more than 60 people injured.

According to international media, about 500 demonstrators demanded the resignation of President Traian Basescu's government and early elections Friday night.

They say they've had enough of austerity measures which have left ordinary people impoverished, while officials waste public money and appear to get wealthier.

About 100 teachers also joined Friday's protests, saying education is underfunded and they can't afford to live on their salaries which have been slashed by one-fourth.

In Romania, news media reported that the unrest had spread over the past week to about 60 cities nationwide. About 7 000 people turned up at a rally in Bucharest on Thursday organized by the opposition National Liberal Party, according to the Ministry of the Interior, and the crowd in the downtown square later was said to number about 1 500.

Romania had to turn to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Union in 2009 for EUR 20 B. The Romanian government took steps to rein in the budget deficit, which was 7.3% of the GDP in 2009. The deficit was cut to 6.9% in 2010 and an estimated 4.2% in 2011, and the economy began to grow again.

A majority of the protests across the country have been peaceful, but at times clashes between riot police and some groups of demonstrators have turned violent.

On Thursday, as a large crowd of people marched through Bucharest and blocked traffic, police used tear gas after protesters started a fire and set up a barricade. Five people were injured.

Romanian media have broadcast footage of people who claim they have been beaten or fined by the police for no reason.

Prosecutors on Friday said they are also investigating four police officers for their conduct during the clashes.

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Tags: Romania, Romanians, Romanian, Bucharest, clashes, riot police, rally, demonstrations, Emil Boc, Traian Basescu, Romanian President, Romanian PM
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