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Bucharest Crowd Protests Over Slow Police Response In Kidnapping-Murder Of Teenage Girl


Protesters March In Bucharest Over Slow Response By Police To Teen's Kidnapping, Murder
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WATCH: Protesters March In Bucharest Over Slow Response By Police To Teen's Kidnapping, Murder

BUCHAREST -- More than 2,500 demonstrators gathered outside the government building in Bucharest on the evening of July 27 to protest the handling by Romanian police of a kidnapping and murder case.

The protest took place at Victory Square in Bucharest where the seat of the Romanian government is located.

Protesters marched through central Bucharest chanting calls for the authorities to resign and carrying signs saying, "Corruption Kills," "Their Blood Is On Your Hands," and "Romania Is Being Killed."

Marchers later lit candles and put flowers outside the Interior Ministry building while holding a moment of silence.

Organizers said the protest was "against the indifference of those in power, their incompetence, and lack of empathy."

At one point, protesters chanted at the team from private television station Antena3, forcing security personnel to help a television reporter to leave the scene.

On July 26, Romania’s national police chief was fired over the handling of the case of a 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped, raped, and killed in the southern city of Caracal.

Interior Minister Nicolae Moga said he fired Police Chief Ioan Buda and two other officials -- Olt County Prefect Petre Neacsu and Olt County Police Chief Cristian Voiculescu -- over the slow response by police to the kidnapping.

Buda had been police chief since June 2018.

According to the emergency phone center, the victim called the emergency number 112 three times for help early on July 25, but it took police some 19 hours to respond to the girl's calls.

Authorities say a 65-year-old mechanic is suspected of having picked her up in his car as she was hitchhiking to Caracal from a nearby village. He denied taking the girl and was being held in pretrial detention and said he had been working on automobiles at the time, authorities said.

Interim Prosecutor-General Bogdan Licu told Antena3 that the reasons for the apparent delay in police action “must be clarified.”

"A girl who by all indications could have been saved has died," he said.

President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Viorica Dancila have called for an investigation into the response and for punishment of persons responsible for any inadequate actions.

Dancila said on July 27 that she was considering a referendum on harsher penalties for crimes like murder, rape, and pedophilia in the wake of the case.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and The New York Times
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    RFE/RL's Romanian Service

    After a decade-long closure, RFE/RL's Romanian Service relaunched in 2019 on digital platforms to help address declining media independence in Romania and the spread of disinformation.