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Thousands Protest In Romania For Third Night Over Anticorruption Rollback


Protests in Romania against the weakening of anticorruption laws went into a third night on February 2, with tens of thousands of citizens taking to the streets in cities across the country.

Despite drawing the largest protests since the fall of communism in 1989, the government refused to withdraw a decree it issued on January 31 decriminalizing some official misconduct, barely a month after the Social Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu took power.

The move plunged Romania into a political crisis, with President Klaus Iohannis filing a Constitutional Court challenge, saying the measure damages the rule of law and the fight against corruption.

Police said the crowds late on February 2 rivaled the estimated 250,000 who took to the streets across the country the day before, with some 80,000 people gathered in front of the government's headquarters in Bucharest's biggest square.

The decree allows officials involved in graft with family members or involving amounts of less than 200,000 lei ($47,500) to escape jail.

"The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone," said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, which warned against undermining Romania's progress toward meeting EU standards of justice.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters
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