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Romanian Anti-Government Rallies in Day 10

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Protesters waving Romanian flags shout anti-president slogans atop a monument in the central University Square in Bucharest on January 22, 2012.

Romanian protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Bucharest for a tenth consecutive day to demand the resignation of the government over its austerity measures.

Scores of protesters again gathered in the capital’s central University Square on Sunday to show their fury at President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Emil Boc.

“Staying at home can severely damage democracy,” read a placard held by one protester, urging more Romanians to join the demonstrations.

Another protester held a sign reading, “QUIT,” while she was chanting slogans against Basescu and Boc.

No clashes were reported. However, tens of people have been injured as a result of confrontations between riot police and protesters since the beginning of the rallies against the center-right government.

The demonstrations were originally held as a show of support for the country’s former Deputy Health Minister Raed Arafat, a Palestinian-born doctor, who was forced to resign days earlier due a series of public attacks led against him by Basescu.

People are also protesting against a pension freeze and a 25-percent cut in public sector wages approved by the government in July 2010.

In 2009, as its economy shrank by 7.1 percent, Romania took a EUR-20-billion loan with a two-year-long repayment deadline from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the World Bank.


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