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Hundreds injured in anti-government protest in Romania

Hundreds injured in anti-government protest in Romania

The rally, organized on social media under the motto "Diaspora at Home", called on Romanians living overseas to return home and gather at the square to protest what they say is a corrupt government.

The demonstrations were peaceful but on Friday, riot police fired tear gas and used water cannon on a huge rally in central Bucharest. Footage on social media show police beating non-violent protestors with holding their hands up.

"In a European state, attacking innocent people, attacking journalists, attacking women and children is inconceivable", he said Monday, calling for a thorough investigation into police brutality during the anti-government protest.

Smaller protests were also held in other cities across the country.

Earlier Saturday, Romanian riot police defended their use of force at Friday night protest in which 70 people, including 11 riot police, had to be taken to the hospital.

Romania's President Klaus Iohannis condemned rally, saying in a statement Friday demonstrators' actions were "strongly disproportionate with the demonstrations of the majority of people in Victoria Square".

It said the tourists were returning to their hotel in the Romanian capital of Bucharest when police stopped them.

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"The interior ministry must explain urgently the way it handled tonight's events".

"This government is crassly incompetent and corrupt", said Mircea Campeanu, a medical auditor living in the Netherlands who drove to Romania to attend the protest. Messages projected on buildings around the square said "We are the people" and "No violence".

Previous year those working overseas sent 4.3 billion euros ($4.9 billion) back to their families at home, almost 2.5 percent of the national GDP in one of Europe's poorest countries.

"Have no fear! Romanians will rise up!" and "You thieves!" they yelled.

With Kovesi at the helm, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (DNA) had led a crackdown on corruption among local and national elected officials in recent years, earning accusations of abuse of power and the enmity of many in Romania's political class. Those changes made it through parliament but are now being challenged in the country's constitutional court.

Romania was ranked 49th out of 180 on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for past year, below most other European nations.

Podut said: "Almost all of the public sector is malfunctioning, it must be changed completely and replaced with capable people".

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