Romania protesters call for graft decree rollback

Feb 02, 2017, 7:23 AM EST
An anti-government protest in Romania in 2015.
(Source: Jake Stimpson/flickr)

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on Wednesday, voicing their dissent against a recently passed decree that could free dozens of officials currently in jail for corruption. Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu’s government defended its decision, saying that the step would ease overcrowding in prisons however critics accuse the regime of helping its convicted allies.

Romania has drawn all round flak from for apparently “backtracking” on its promise to combat corruption, writes the BBC. European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker warned the country of that the fight against graft should not be undone, adding that the bloc is closely observing the development.

About 200,000 to 300,000 protesters braved bitter cold for the second night, raising slogans -“Thieves!” and “Resign!,” notes The Guardian. At some places, the protests turned violent leaving some policemen and agitators slightly injured. Amid the unfolding controversy, Business and entrepreneurship minister Florin Jianu, announced his resignation, saying that he doesn’t want to be a “coward” accomplice in the government’s decision.