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News 05 Nov 17

Romanians Rally Against Controversial Justice Bill

Thousands of Romanians protested in several cities across the country against a controversial justice bill that, according to critics, could curb prosecutors’ independence.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
Over 30.000 Romanians protested on Sunday in cities across the country against a justice bill proposed by the ruling Social Democrats. Photo: Octav Ganea/Inquam Photos.

Thousands of people took to the streets across the country on Sunday in protest against the new justice bill proposed by the ruling Social Democrat Party.

As BIRN previously reported, magistrates, civil society, diplomats and the EU all warned the bill would curb the independence of the judicial system and could hurt the country’s standing in Europe.

“We don’t want to be a nation of thieves,” the protesters chanted in front of the government building in Bucharest, but also in several big cities across the country, such as Cluj Napoca, Brasov and Sibiu in Transylvania, or Iasi and Galati in Eastern Romania.

In the capital, Bucharest, protesters marched from the Government building to the Parliament. Photo:Octav Ganea/Inquam Photos.

Activists mobilised on social networks, but several opposition politicians, including Liberal leader Ludovic Orban and former technocrat Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, said they support the protests and encouraged party members to join the rallies.

The proposed bill includes removing the president from the process of naming chief prosecutors, subordinating chief prosecutors to the politically appointed justice minister and placing the Judicial Inspectorate - the main disciplinary body that controls the activity of magistrates - under the Justice Ministry’s control.

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