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Anti-government protests escalate in Romania


16:48, January 16, 2012

BUCHAREST, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Romania's capital city of Bucharest has been the scene of anti-government protests for three days in a row, with more than 2,000 people shouting and clashing with riot police on the central University Square on Sunday.

The demonstrators asked the president and the cabinet to quit, and called for early elections. Some angry protesters threw stones and even Molotov cocktails at police, who fired tear gas in response.

The confrontations resulted in injuries including both protesters and police officers, some were taken to hospitals for treatment.

The protests, the most serious since President Traian Basescu came to power in 2004, were sparked by the resignation of the prestigious public health official Raed Arafat.

The Palestinian-born doctor Tuesday resigned his position as deputy secretary of state in the Health Ministry, in protest against a new healthcare bill of the authorities.

Eventually, the protests turned against the government's austerity measures and unpopular policies -- such as cuts in salaries and welfare benefits, as well as higher taxes. President Basescu announced to withdraw the healthcare bill late Friday, but that has been unable to quell the anger of the people.

Prime Minister Emil Boc on Sunday called for dialogue, underscoring that "bricks thrown everywhere" are not a solution to resolving the issues facing the Romanians.

"Dialogue is the only way to resolve all the issues in Romania," said Boc after a visit to a hospital in Bucharest to see the gendarme injured during protests late on Saturday.

Protests were also reportedly staged in other cities across the country.


Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

Alina at 2012-01-2089.36.80.*
I graduated medical school one year ago, and after 6 years of hard studyng I am unemployed.These protests are not about raed, these protests are because people can"t take it anymore. It"s outrageous to see the minister of turism, elena udrea, asking the people to make sacrifices, while she"s walking around wearing 40.000 euro dresses.How is that possible when an average salary in Romania is 200 euro?

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