Police fire tear gas at protesters in Romania
Sunday 15 January 2012
Romanian police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters during an anti-government rally, the third consecutive day of demonstrations against austerity cuts and falling living standards.
The protests were the most serious since President Traian Basescu came to power in 2004 and were the result of pent-up frustration against public wage cuts, slashed benefits, higher taxes and widespread corruption.
In 2009, Romania took a two-year 20 billion euro loan from the International Monetary Fund, the EU and the World Bank, as its economy shrank by 7.1%.
Romania imposed harsh austerity measures under the agreement, reducing public wages by 25% and increasing taxes.
The unlikely catalyst for the protests, however, was the resignation of popular health official Raed Arafat, a Palestinian with Romanian citizenship who opposed health reforms proposed by the government.
On Friday, Mr Basescu told the government to scrap the reforms, but public anger had already risen against Mr Basescu and the government.
Widespread support for Mr Arafat has led commentators drawing parallels with ethnic Hungarian Laszlo Toekes, whose opposition to late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 was the spark for the anti-communist revolt.
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Ice Bucket Challenge: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Oprah – the most entertaining reactions so far
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
£30000 - £34000 per annum: Charter Selection: This highly successful organisat...
£60000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...
£230 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: MI Analyst-Reporting-Bank-Edinburgh...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...