Romanian police use tear gas to disperse protest

Romania: Violent protest leaves 440 needing medical treatment

Romanian police clash with anti-government protesters

Romanian anti riot police clash with protesters throwing plastic bottles at them during a demonstration in front of the Romanian government headquarters in Bucharest to protest against the government.

Other protesters were seen throwing paving slabs at the police, who responded with tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon.

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

"The interior ministry must explain urgently the way it handled tonight's events", the centrist leader wrote in a statement posted to Facebook.

In Bucharest, some protesters attempted to force their way through security lines guarding the government building. Reuters reported that at least 400 people sought medical attention and that the protests were organized in large part by Romanian expats working outside of the country. They sent home just under bn a year ago, a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries. 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.

The protesters were demanding the resignation of the Social Democrat government.

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

In 2015, Romania's prime minister - a member of the Social Democratic Party who was tried for corruption, fraud and tax evasion while he was in office - resigned after a deadly nightclub fire that was blamed in part on corruption and poor safety oversight. Among them were a number of politicians, including a senator and 28 mayors.

The country's top anti-graft prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was sacked in July, raising concern in Brussels.

There were no immediate reports of life-threatening injuries, but Militaru said a female colleague had been "brutally beaten" and has a suspected fractured spine.

Chief complaints among the demonstrators are legislative changes that many say will weaken the rule of law. The changes are being challenged in the constitutional court. They demanded that the Parliament be dissolved, that early elections be held, that a government of technocrats be created, within a unicameral Parliament, which would include 300 senators, 100 of which should be representatives of the diaspora.

Before Kovesi's sacking, thousands of protesters took to the streets in support of her.

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