Protest continues despite Romanian PM’s resignation

Protesters complain of corruption in government and poor public services calling for drastic reform among political elites in Romania

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A demonstrator shouts anti corruption slogans during a street protest in Bucharest, Romania.

Updated Nov 5, 2015

Thousands gathered for protets in Romania's capital Bucharest, following the hours of Prime Minister Victor Ponta's resignation, over a deadly nightclub fire. 

At least 10,000 protesters gathered together on Wednesday night at the country's capital to demand an early election and further political reform.

During the demonstration, protesters urged other people to join the latest protest and shouted "Get out of your homes if you care'' and "Don't be afraid, the country is rising up".

The protest came after some 20,000 demonstrators took to the street of Bucharest, tempered over the death of 32 people in Friday’s fire.

Protesters had been complaining of corruption in government and poor public services taking Mr. Ponta’s resignation as just the starting of reform among the political elites.

Prosecutors accused Ponta of taking an equivalent bribe of 55,000 euros ($63,000) from Dan Sova, a political ally and member of parliament, suspected by prosecutors of abuse of power, but covered by immunity.

The tragedy worried many Romanians and prompted Iohannis Ponta's bitter political opponent to call for fundamental reform in Romania.

Ponta was Romania's premier since 2012, had been under pressure to resign weeks before the blaze, after going on trial on charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering in September.

"I am st epping down as prime minister," he said. "I hope the government's resignation will satisfy the people who came out in the streets.

"I have to acknowledge the legitimate anger of the people."

Although, more than 30,000 demonstrators marched later Wednesday in Bucharest and other major cities to call for a "profound change" in the government.

"The last straw," -"People want a change in the system, half measures will no longer work," said Marius Matache, a musician taking part in the march.

"Our friends in the Colectiv disco were killed by a vile system. It was the last straw on the camel's back." 

"We should no longer tolerate government incompetence, institutional inefficiency, and we cannot let corruption spread to the point that it kills people," he said on Sunday.

Ponta stepped down from the Social Democrat party in July, however in Semptember, he survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament, shortly after his trail begun.

The charges date back to 2007-11, and he was the first Romanian head of government to stand trial while in office.

Another preliminary hearing is due on Friday.

TRTWorld and agencies