Romania protests: Thousands rally against government for second night

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Friday's protest organized on social media by groups of Romanians living overseas and returning for their summer vacation was one of the largest and brought to Victoriei Square over 100,000 people.

It ended in violence.

About 60,000 people gathered on the eve of the anti-government action in the Romanian capital, including representatives of the Romanian diaspora, who live and work in different countries, as well as residents of various counties.

Conflict broke out with protestors threw bottles and paving slabs while riot police used pepper spray, tear gas, and a water cannon. More than 240 people were injured.

Another protest is scheduled for Saturday evening.

Thousands protested in other Romanian cities. Security forces held back this time as people chanted "Down with the government!" and "Justice, not corruption!" Resignation!' " the wire service writes. "Resignation!". They also chanted "Thieves, thieves", waving Romanian, U.S., North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union flags.

Photos show protesters holding up glowing cellphone screens, which have become a symbol of anti-government and anti-corruption protests in Romania.

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

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Police said they had acted in a proportionate way, responding to the violent behaviour of hooligans in the crowd.

The protesters demand the resignation of the government, objecting to the perceived efforts to weaken the judiciary by the governing Social Democrats (PSD), as well as low wages and entrenched corruption in the country.

Around four million Romanians work overseas from an overall population of 20 million. Dragnea was previously convicted of election fraud.

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

Protests in Bucharest turned violent, with Euronews videos showing riot police officers beating demonstrators into the ground.

Hundreds of thousands of Romanians have signed a petition demanding a law that would ban people indicted for corruption and other offenses from political office, but it's unlikely to pass since the Social Democrats and their allies have a majority in Parliament.

In 2015, Romania's prime minister - a member of the Social Democratic Party who was tried for corruption, fraud and tax evasion while he was in office - resigned after a deadly nightclub fire that was blamed in part on corruption and poor safety oversight.