In Romania, Protests Prompt Government to Rescind Corruption Bill

Huge protests succeeded in pressuring Romania's government to repeal a decree that would have eased penalties for official corruption.

People shout pro-government slogans during a rally in front of the Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.

Romania's government held an emergency session on Saturday, following mass protests against a controversial ordnance passed late on Jan. 31. The emergency decree would have decriminalized certain corruption offenses, raising concerns in Romania and outside that the government was easing up on fighting graft. Center-right President Klaus Iohannis, elected in 2014 on an anti-graft platform, had previously called the decree "scandalous" and moved to invoke the constitutional court. The contentious corruption legislation immediately sparked what became the biggest protests since the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, prompting officials to announce late Saturday that they would rescind the bill. The impromptu announcement was followed by an official statement on Sunday. Still, demonstrators remained on the streets into the night.

Bogdan Cristel / EPA
Children hold balloons in the colors of the Romanian flag. Damiel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
A man holds a small dog as others shout slogans against Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, during a pro-government demonstration. Vadim Ghirda / AP
Pro-government supporters shout slogans in front of the presidential office. Stoyan Nenov / Reuters
People hold banners that read "I am not your Romanian" while shouting slogans against Romanian President Klaus Iohannis during a pro-government demonstration joined by hundreds in Bucharest. Vadim Ghirda / AP

People carry effigies depicting members of the Romanian government on Feb. 5. Romania's government met Sunday to repeal an emergency decree that decriminalizes official misconduct, a law that has prompted massive protests at home and widespread condemnation from abroad.

Darko Bandic / AP
People shout slogans and wave placards while attending a protest in front of government headquarters in Bucharest. Robert Ghement / EPA
Protesters use phones and flashlights during a protest in Victoriei Square, in Bucharest. Adriana Neagoe / Inquam Photos via Reuters
People protest in front of the government headquarters. Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images
A man holds balloons in the colors of the Romanian flag. Octav Ganea / Inquam Photos via Reuters
People gather for a demonstration, with a banner that reads: "Down with the government of thieves and corrupts zero trust/confidence." Darko Bandic / AP
A young child carries the Romanian national flag. Vadim Ghirda / AP

Tens of thousands of people shine lights from mobile phones and torches during a protest.

PHOTOS: Diluted Graft Law Ignites Furor in Romania

Andreea Alexandru / AP