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Romania: One Miner Killed, Dozens Injured As Cozma Arrested

Bucharest, 17 February 1999 (RFE/RL) - RFE/RL's correspondent in Romania reports that at least one miner was killed and 20 police injured today in clashes surrounding the arrest of miners' leader Miron Cozma. Cozma was arrested in the town of Caracal, about 150 kilometers southwest of Bucharest, as he and about 2,000 miners from the Jiu Valley region clashed with Interior Ministry police. The miners were advancing on Bucharest to protest an 18-year prison sentence given to Cozma by the Supreme Court on Monday. The charges are connected to Cozma's role as the leader of violent 1991 protests in Bucharest.

Our correspondent reports that several dozen miners also were arrested along with Cozma today. Authorities say Cozma could face an additional 15-year prison sentence for resisting arrest and obstructing justice.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 miners are being sent by train from Caracal back to the Jiu Valley's provincial capital of Petrosani. Interior Ministry forces have also set up blockades on roads and rail lines around the Jiu Valley to prevent renewed marches on the capital.