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Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment

Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment

Some of the estimated 3 million Romanians living overseas say they left because of corruption, low wages, and lack of opportunities. Protesters blew vuvuzelas and shone the words "Down with the government" on the government offices.

With Kovesi at the helm, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (DNA) had led a crackdown on corruption among local and national elected officials, earning the enmity of many in Romania's political class and prompting critics to accuse it of abuse of power.

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

Diaspora rally in Victoria Square in Bucharest on August 10, 2018.

"Unfortunately, it is still not possible, the. people who govern us are not qualified and they are corrupt".

Mr Ostafi said: "I left to give my children a better life, which was not possible here then".

Among the crowds in Bucharest were truck driver Daniel Ostafi, 42, who moved to Italy 15 years ago in search of a future he says Romania could not offer his family, and Mihai Podut, 27, a construction worker who left in 2014, first for France and later Germany.

Earlier Saturday, Romanian riot police defended their use of force at the protest Friday night in which 70 people, including 11 riot police, had to be taken to the hospital. Dozens of others were treated at the scene.

Thousands of Romanians rallied for a third day running on Sunday against the Social Democrat government in anti-corruption protests, demanding Prime Minister Viorica Dancila step down.

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Friday's protest organized on social media by groups of Romanians living overseas and returning for their summer vacation was one of the largest and brought to Victoriei Square over 100,000 people.

Another protest is scheduled for Saturday evening.

Another police spokesman, Georgian Enache, said "the legitimate state violence" was justified because protesters had been warned several times to leave the square.

Some protesters threw bottles and other objects at police, who used tear gas and water cannon in retaliation, resulting in people on both sides requiring brief medical attention.

Interior Minister Carmen Dan said the riot police hadn't "intervened against peaceful protesters, but against risky hooligans who attacked the state's authority".

President Klaus Iohannis, a critic of the left-wing government, condemned "the brutal intervention of riot police".

Police said they had acted in a proportionate way, responding to the violent behaviour of hooligans in the crowd.

Austrian public broadcaster ORF said Saturday that one of its cameramen had been beaten by police while a TV presenter was shoved up against a wall. A journalist filming the rally for Romania's Hotnews online website said he was kicked and shoved by riot police.