Third night of anti-government protests in Romania

Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment

Thousands of Romanians rallied for the third night in a row, protesting against corruption and demanding the resignation of the current government.

Other protesters were seen throwing paving slabs at the police, who responded with tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon. Romanians gathered for a second day of protest Saturday, a day after an anti-government protest turned violent leaving 455 people, including three dozen riot police, needing medical treatment.

President Klaus Iohannis, an opponent of the Socialist Democrat-led government and a vocal critic of its corruption policy, criticised the police reaction as "brutal". He also said he requested the attorney general look into the legality of the riot police's intervention.

"This government is crassly incompetent and corrupt", said Mircea Campeanu, a medical auditor living in the Netherlands who drove to Romania to attend the protest.

In Bucharest, some protesters attempted to force their way through security lines guarding the government building.

Thousands of people demonstrated also in Cluj Napoca, Sibiu and Timisoara in Transylvania, in the eastern city of Iasi or Black Sea port of Constanta.

Around four million people have left the country - one of the European Union's poorest - in the last 15 years, seeking a better life than that offered by Romania's average monthly wage of just 520 euros. The AP said that Georgian Enache, a police spokesman, said the police pushback on Friday was "legitimate state violence" because protesters were refusing to leave despite warnings.

An estimated 3 to 5 million Romanians are working and living overseas, the World Bank has said, up to a quarter of the European Union state's population, ranging from day laborers to doctors.

People attend a protest in Bucharest, Romania August 10, 2018, in this image taken from social media.

Note that Bucharest is hosting a rally against the ruling coalition headed by the Social democratic party.

The demonstrations stem from some Romanians' long-standing frustrations with the ruling Social Democrats (PSD).

The country's top anti-graft prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was sacked in July, raising concern in Brussels. The changes are being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

"We strongly condemn the violent clashes in Bucharest where many demonstrators and journalists have been injured", Austrian chancellor Sebastina Kurz wrote on his Twitter account.

"I am one of those who support this idea of making a huge PSD rally again", PSD's deputy secretary general Codrin Stefanescu said at local news television Romania TV, local Mediafax reported. "We expect full explanations".

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