Riots in Bucharest

Spontaneous protests against the centre-right coalition government and President Traian Băsescu escalated to rioting in the Romanian capital.

The protests broke out on 12 Jan. following the resignation of well-respected junior health minister Raed Arafat over government plans to privatise the medical emergency system.

The demonstrations spread to over 40 Romanian cities, with reports of stones and Molotov cocktails being thrown, causing dozens of injuries.

In spite of the controversial reform being dropped, and the 17 Jan. reappointment of Arafat, a Palestinian-born immigrant, thousands of protesters braved cold temperatures to call for the president’s resignation.

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