500,000 Romanians protest after government revokes corruption decree

Bucharest, Feb 6 (IANS) About 500,000 Romanians took to streets around the country calling for the resignation of the social-democratic government, despite the fact that the administration had revoked its unpopular decree decriminalising certain types of corrupt acts.

The demonstrators on Sunday chanted slogans — for the sixth consecutive day — such as “We want you to listen to us, not to lie to us” and “You’ve done it, you’ve gotten us united” on the plaza in front of the government headquarters, making a raucous clamor shouting and using noisemakers, Efe news reported.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu told Antena3 television that “I will not resign. We won the elections with millions of votes,” adding that in December the Social Democratic Party (PSD) garnered a winning 45 per cent of the ballots in the legislative elections.

The crowd swelled to 300,000 in the capital of Bucharest, a much higher figure than in past days due to the arrival of many people from other cities such as Cluj-Napoca and Iasi.

Another 200,000 people demonstrated in other large Romanian cities in the largest wave of protests since the fall of communism in 1989.

The PSD government on Sunday repealed a controversial decree decriminalising certain forms of corruption that had sparked a wave of mass protests across the nation.

After the repeal of the decree, people began to gather in front of the government headquarters in the capital calling on the government to resign, and the crowd quickly ballooned to hundreds of thousands.

On Tuesday, the government imposed as a matter of urgency a decree that decriminalised some corruption cases if they cost the government less than 44,000 euros ($47,500).

The controversial move, however, was greeted with outrage by the public, who took to the streets of the capital Bucharest in numbers unseen in Romania in decades.