Some 100,000 people on Saturday protested (pictured; Twitter @paul2ivan) across Romania against government laws that try to block their efforts to fight corruption.
Among them was a group of people from Cluj city in northwest Romania who walked some 450 km for over a week to join a 70,000-strong demonstration in Bucharest on Saturday.
Around 9 pm, the protesters held lit mobile phones in the Constitution Square in Romania’s capital chanting “Thieves” and “PSD” [the Social Democratic Party], the red plague”. They also sang the national anthem and patriotic songs. Some blew vuvuzelas and alpenhorns and waved tricolour and Dacian flags.
Romania is ranked one of EU’s most corrupt states by Transparency International.
The protests were against the government’s plans to subjugate the judiciary, block people’s fight against corruption and bring changes to the fiscal code which will overburden the economy.
The PSD wanted a series of changes to the laws of justice. Accordingly, in December, it began the process to change the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Codes.
Both Opposition and parties saw this as a ploy to weaken the judiciary and foil efforts to fight corruption.
“This is why people are in the streets, because from month-to-month we saw that politicians are still trying to demolish the rule of law in Romania,” Attila Biro, a journalist at RISE Project, told Euronews.
“We want a free country, we want freedom and free justice in our country. It’s all about the future of our children,” Halina, a protester who took part in the march, told the news channel.
The protests capped a week that saw President Klaus Iohannis forced to name a new PSD prime minister, Viorica Dancila, despite criticism she is unfit for the job and just a remote control for PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, current parliamentary Speaker.
Dragnea cannot aspire for prime ministership as he has been convicted for election fraud and is facing anti-graft investigations.