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Antigovernment Protests Continue In Romania; Rally Set For Bucharest

Protests against the government continue in Romanian towns and cities.
Protests against the government continue in Romanian towns and cities.

Organizers say a major protest rally is scheduled for the Romanian capital of Bucharest on February 12, as demonstrations against the government continued despite subzero temperatures.

An estimated 11,000 people hit the streets across Romania on February 11, down from some 500,000 reported at the peak of the protests against an emergency government decree that critics say would have weakened the country's anticorruption fight.

The huge rallies, the largest since the fall of Communism in 1989, forced the government to revoke the decree on February 5, and led to the justice minister's resignation.

The protesters remained on the streets, however, with many calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and his Social Democrat-led government, which took power only in December.

Some 3,000 gathered on February 11 in the capital Bucharest, according to news reports.

“We are resisting, we aren't going away," many of the protesters chanted.

The national Agerpres news agency said 8,000 took part in protests in the rest of the country, including 3,000 in Timisoara.

A counterdemonstration in support of the government took place in Bucharest on February 11, attracting a few hundred people in front of the presidential palace, reports said.

Many of the pro-government supporters called for the resignation of President Klaus Iohannis, who had split with the prime minister and battled against the emergency decree.

Romania, a member of the European Union, has been criticized by Brussels for the slow pace of dealing with corruption and organized crime.

The planned emergency decree that ignited the protests would have made abuse of power a crime punishable by jail only if the sums involved exceeded 200,000 lei (44,000 euros, $47,500).

With reporting by RFE/RL's Eugene Tomiuc,, AFP, and VOA
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