Thousands of protesters waving flags sing the national anthem, ‘Awaken thee, Romanian!’ among burning trash cans and broken windows. No, it’s not historical footage of the 1989 Revolution, but the fourth consecutive day of protests against the Romanian government’s austerity measures.
It all kicked off when Deputy Health Minister Raed Arafat, a widely popular Romanian physician of Palestinian origin, resigned in opposition to a draft healthcare reform bill that represented a partial privatisation of the healthcare system. The protests began on Thursday, with a solidarity demonstration in support of Arafat that took a violent turn. Riot police used tear gas against protesters, who responded by throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails at them. Protesters chanted ‘Down with the thieves! One solution, another revolution!’ and lit candles for heroes of the 1989 rebellion, a series of riots that marked the end of Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime.
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