June 9, 2018
Romania’s ruling Social Democrats and thousands of supporters rallied outside government headquarters in Bucharest on Saturday in protest at alleged abuses of power by anti-corruption prosecutors.
The rally was seen as the ruling coalition’s response to a series of large anti-government street protests held against Social Democrat attempts to decriminalize several corruption offences via emergency decree last year. The popular outcry forced the Social Democrats to withdraw the decree.
Romania is one of the European Union’s most corrupt states and Brussels keeps its justice system under special monitoring.
The argument over how hard to fight corruption in Romania has dominated its politics since it joined the EU in 2007.
Anti-corruption prosecutors have secured a spate of convictions against lawmakers, ministers and mayors in recent years, exposing conflicts of interest, abuse of power, fraud and the awarding of state contracts in exchange for bribes.
But leading politicians, some of whom are currently under investigation or on trial, have denied wrongdoing and accused prosecutors of using their powers for political persecution.