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Thousands Mark Romania's Centennial Amid Growing Corruption Concerns


Antigovernment protesters rally in Bucharest.

Tens of thousands of Romanians marked the 100th anniversary of their country's birth as a modern state, with many protesters also demonstrating against corruption.

The government held military parades in the capital Bucharest on December 1, as well as in Alba Iulia, the Transylvanian city that symbolizes Romania's 1918 reunification following World War I.

Members of the ruling Social Democratic Party were booed at a ceremony in Alba Iulia, where President Klaus Iohannis called for building a "dignified and powerful country, integrated through education, culture, and creativity into a Europe of values, prosperity, and freedom."

More than 1,000 Romanians gathered outside government offices in Bucharest late on December 1 to protest high-level corruption, yelling "Resign!"

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement thanking Romania for contributing to Black Sea security as a NATO member and participating in missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Washington stands with Romania "in its efforts to uphold democratic values and the rule of law...which are...the foundation of economic growth and prosperity," he said.

One of the European Union's poorest members, Romania takes over the six-month presidency of the EU in January.

But there’s been growing concern about proposed judicial reforms that some Romanians fear will erode the rule of law and democratic governance.

With reporting by AP
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