Romania: Protests after Parliament oks anti-graft referendum

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's Parliament agreed Monday to hold a referendum on public support for fighting official corruption, a move that failed to appease anti-government protesters who demonstrated in the capital and other Romanian cities.

All 310 lawmakers present voted in favor of the referendum proposed by President Klaus Iohannis, a strong supporter of the country's anti-graft drive.

It was not clear what question will be presented to voters, but the referendum was seen as a way to bolster support for the ongoing fight against corruption.

Romania has seen its biggest anti-government protests since the end of communism in the nearly two weeks since the center-left government issued a decree diluting anti-corruption laws.

Huge protests have taken place in Bucharest and large cities around the country.

Premier Sorin Grindeanu withdrew the decree, but nightly demonstrations have continued to draw large crowds demanding resignation of the government that assumed power last month.

Late Monday, hundreds of people assembled outside the government offices in Bucharest's Victory Square, braving subzero temperatures for the 14th consecutive night of protests. Some waved Romanian flags and chanted "Resignation!" to the beat of drums.

Smaller anti-government demonstrations took place Monday in a dozen cities nationwide.

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