Romanians protest against relaxing of anti-corruption laws

World Today

Romania’s government is refusing to back down against the biggest demonstrations in nearly 30 years. Up to 300,000 people have taken to the streets to protest against the relaxing of anti-corruption laws.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Romanians protest against relaxing of anti-corruption laws

Romanians protest against relaxing of anti-corruption laws

Romania's government is refusing to back down against the biggest demonstrations in nearly 30 years. Up to 300,000 people have taken to the streets to protest against the relaxing of anti-corruption laws. CGTN's Owen Fairclough reports.

Romanians haven’t protested on this scale since they toppled and executed leader Nicolae Ceauşescu in 1989.

They object to a decree that decriminalizes abuse of power laws, involving financial damages less than $48,000. Football hooligans were blamed for these clashes with police in what have been otherwise peaceful demonstrations. The president is backing the crowds by appealing to the country’s highest courts to block the reform.

But the ruling center-left coalition wants the new law passed. Its leader, on trial for corruption, may benefit from it.

Analysts said the protests have exposed clear national divisions.

The situation is worrying the European Union. Romania had to crack down on corruption as a condition of joining the bloc ten years ago.

The Constitutional Court has given both supporters and opponents of the decree until Feb. 7 to submit their arguments. The court says it will rule within 20 days of that date.