Romanian PM calls for unity amid rallies

Romanian PM calls for unity amid rallies

Romania’s prime minister Jan. 24 used a national holiday to call for unity as thousands of protesters angry at the government’s failure to reverse falling living standards turned their ire toward state media.

Emil Boc addressed Parliament in a special session on the country’s Day of Unity, urging Romanians to work together to overcome economic hardship. The government has been battling to contain demonstrations. In his first public remarks about the protests, President Traian Basescu accused opposition figures and the press of indulging in what he called “the joy of destruction,” and of undermining and ignoring his government’s achievements.

“They want the resignation of the president, the government and the Parliament, that’s to say a Romania that is not governed,” he said. The ruling party’s popularity has slumped months before a parliamentary election, expected in November, and anger at public sector jobs and pay cuts, as well as an increase in sales tax has mounted. Some 5,000 people jeered the government in the northeast city of Iasi, calling for early elections. Earlier Jan. 24, about 2,000 protesters rallied outside government headquarters and marched to the headquarters of the public television station, which they accused of having a pro-government bias. “The news they (Romanian public television) broadcast does not reflect reality,” said Teodor Ciodariu, a 58-year-old retired interior ministry officer.

Compiled from AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.

Romania, Day of Unity, Traian Basescu