BUCHAREST, Romania — More than 10,000 Romanians gathered in the capital and thousands in other cities Sunday to protest government plans for legislation that critics say will weaken efforts to root out corruption.
Outside the government headquarters in Bucharest, demonstrators blew plastic vuvuzelas and yelled “Democracy is under siege” and “Justice, not corruption” and
Participants could be heard calling the ruling Social Democratic Party “the red plague.” They later marched through the city toward Parliament.
Magistrates, foreign ambassadors and the European Union also have opposed the proposed legislation, which, among other changes, would allow a person with a criminal conviction to be elected president.
The bill also would give Romania’s justice minister the job of naming the country’s top prosecutors, currently a main function of the presidency.
Tavi Carder, 49, a manager at a private transport company, was among the participants at the Bucharest demonstration. He said he thinks the measures were designed to benefit lawmakers.
“We are very angry … This government is incompetent,” Carder said.
Similar events were held in at least a dozen cities around Romania and abroad.
The protests echoed massive anti-corruption protests — the largest since the fall of communism in Romania — that broke out at the beginning of the year after the government moved to decriminalize official misconduct. The government eventually scrapped the ordinance, after more than two weeks of daily demonstrations.
Bookkeeper Florentina Dobre, 28, said Sunday that the government “isn’t capable of governing and should be changed. It doesn’t have any credibility left.”
The proposals have been approved by a parliamentary committee and lawmakers are likely to vote on them in the coming weeks. The president, who has criticized the draft, would need to sign off on them.