Over 450 people hurt in Romania protest clashes

Romanians take part in a demonstration in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest on Friday

Some demonstrators lobbed rocks, bottles, and smoke bombs at riot police.

Riot police responded with baton charges.

"I firmly condemn riot police's brutal intervention, strongly disproportionate to the actions of the majority of people in the square", he said on his Facebook page.

In addition to protesters, some police officers were also injured when protesters retaliated, with some reportedly throwing bottles.

"Any form of violence is unacceptable", he said.

Press outlets around the world covered the protest that took place in Bucharest, Romania on August 10, dubbed the "Diaspora's protest" as Romanians who live overseas travelled back to the country to protest the Dancila government and demand snap elections to take down the PSD-ALDE coalition, which has a strong majority in the Parliament.

Around four million people have left the country - one of the European Union's poorest - in the last 15 years, seeking a better life than that offered by Romania's average monthly wage of just 520 euros. Smaller protests were also held in other cities across the country. No official figures were available.

Several more thousands protesting against graft and politicians' attempts to decriminalise several corruption offences gathered in the Transylvanian cities of Cluj, Sibiu and Brasov, in Timisoara on the border with Serbia, and in the eastern city of Iasi.

The demonstrations in Bucharest turned violent late on August 10 as riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse what the police said were "provocateurs" who joined the rallies.

A group of protesters tried to break into the government building in Bucharest, but were held back by the police security cordon.

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This time, the protest was peaceful, with no violent clashes.

Over 400 people received medical care at the square that night and two gendarmes were attacked, it said.

There were also several arrests outside the seat of government in the capital.

People shine the lights of their mobile phones during a protest outside the government headquarters in Bucharest.

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

Iohannis, the European Commission, and the U.S. State Department criticized the proposed changes to judicial legislation, saying they could derail the rule of law.

Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by the Supreme Court in June for incitement to abuse of office, a ruling which is not final as it is pending an appeal.

Iohannis in July signed a decree to remove the popular chief anticorruption prosecutor from her post. Those changes made it through parliament but are now being challenged in the country's constitutional court.

Under Kovesi's leadership, corruption conviction rates rose sharply in one of the EU's most corruption-plagued members.

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