Protester throws himself 7m off balcony in Romanian parliament chamber

A protester threw himself from a balcony of Romania's parliamentary chamber yesterday in a protest over government austerity measures.

The man, identified by the country's public television station as one of its engineers, leapt about 7m and landed among the benches before the start of a no-confidence debate in the government. The man, Adrian Sobaru, was wearing a white T-shirt, with the words "You've pierced us. You've killed our children's future. Freedom," in a reference to government policy. The first line was a reference to President Traian Basescu, who after winning the presidential race in 2009 said "I've pierced them", using a well-known line from a Romanian movie.

As emergency medical workers took him out on a stretcher, Mr Sobaru shouted "Freedom!" – echoing cries of the 1989 fall of communism in which more than 1,300 people died. Romanians are commemorating the 21st anniversary of the uprising in which authorities shot unarmed protesters.

Mr Sobaru had facial and other injuries. He will have surgery and psychological counselling, a health official said. Nobody else was injured.

Prime Minister Emil Boc, who was in the chamber, called the incident "a tragedy that shocked me", and appealed for calm "in these tough times."