Romanians protest move to pardon corruption
BUCHAREST, Romania — More than 1,000 people gathered outside Romania’s government offices Wednesday to protest against a move by lawmakers to pardon acts of corruption, months after massive anti-graft protests. Hundreds of demonstrators waved Romanian, NATO, European Union and U.S. flags, yelling: “We have to defend the country from thieves!” As numbers grew, the crowd blocked Victory Square where the government offices are. They protested shortly after a parliamentary legal committee approved a draft that would grant an amnesty to people convicted of bribery and influence peddling. The move is a preliminary step before a parliamentary vote. Lawmakers from the ruling Social Democracy Party dominate the committee. However, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, a Social Democrat, said he did not support the proposed changes, and President Klaus Iohannis, who is not a member of any party, said he was “unpleasantly surprised” by the vote. Hundreds of thousands protested this winter after the government in January moved to decriminalize official misconduct. The government eventually scrapped the ordinance.