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Image: Romanian riot police stand guard as people demonstrate against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalize other offenses in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest, on Feb. 1, 2017.

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Diluted Graft Law Ignites Furor in Romania

Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in Romania to protest a new decree diluting the country's corruption law.

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Image: Romanians protest against pardon ordinance adopted by the government

Protesters gather in front of government headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, late on Feb. 2, 2017.

Tens of thousands protested for the third night Thursday in Bucharest, the capital, and thousands more in some 20 other Romanian cities, calling for the government to resign. The decree, which decriminalizes some graft offenses, was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday evening. 

Robert Ghement / EPA
Image: ROMANIA-CORRUPTION-PROTEST

A couple kisses while holding up a placard that reads "Wake-up Romania" in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest on Feb. 2.

President Klaus Iohannis announced he will take the decree to the Constitutional Court, the last legal resort to stop the law by the ruling center-left Social Democrats, whose leader, Liviu Dragnea, is among those with a corruption conviction.

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Romanians protest against pardon ordinance adopted by the government

A giraffe statue outside the Natural Science Museum is surrounded by protesters who rallied in front of government headquarters in Bucharest on Feb. 2.

The ordinance decriminalizes official misconduct if the funds involved are less than 200,000 lei ($47,800). Critics say the measure helps government allies and other officials facing corruption charges get out of prison or clear their records and claim it will encourage more officials to steal on the job.

Robert Ghement / EPA
Image: Romanians protest against pardon ordinance adopted by the government

A girl waves a Romanian national flag in Bucharest on Feb. 2.

Robert Ghement / EPA
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A man wearing a gas mask holds a Romanian flag as a his dog sits next to him at the end of a protest in Bucharest on Feb. 2.

Vadim Ghirda / AP
Image: Romanian riot police detain a man, face covered in blood, after minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Feb. 2, 2017

Police detain a man, face covered in blood, after minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, early on Feb. 2.

Vadim Ghirda / AP
Image: Romanian riot police stand guard as people demonstrate against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalize other offenses in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest, on Feb.1, 2017

Romanian police stand guard as people demonstrate in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest on Feb. 1. 

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Romanian riot police stand guard as people demonstrate against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalize other offenses in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest, on Feb. 1, 2017.

Image: Romanian riot police stand guard as people demonstrate against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalize other offenses in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest, on Feb. 1, 2017.

Romanian riot police stand guard in front of protesters in Bucharest on Feb. 1.

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Romanian riot police clash with protesters during a demonstration in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest, on Feb. 1.

Riot police clash with protesters in Bucharest on Feb. 1.

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Riot police detain protesters during a protest in front of the government headquarters  against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalize other offenses in Bucharest on Feb. 1, 2017.

Riot police detain protesters in Bucharest on Feb. 1.

 

Andrei Pungovschi / AFP - Getty Images
Image: Romanian riot police  evacuate a protester during a demonstration in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest, on Feb. 1.

Police remove a protester in Bucharest on Feb. 1.

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
Image:Protesters destroy outdoor advertisment during a protest in front of the government headquarters  against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalize other offenses in Bucharest on Feb. 1, 2017.

Protesters destroy an advertisement on the street in Bucharest on Feb. 1.

The demonstrations are some of the biggest since the communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1989.

Andrei Pungovschi / AFP - Getty Images
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