Romanian police use tear gas to disperse protest

Romanian police scuffle with protesters during an anti-government protest in Bucharest on Friday

Tens of thousands of Romanians flocked to an anti-government protest from places near and far as local residents joined a demonstration organized by expatriates Friday, urging the left-wing government to resign and call an early election.

Romania's expats return home for anti-government protest in Bucharest - "The demonstrators, who called for the resignation of the Social Democrat Party-led government, were generally peaceful but some tried to break through a security line and tear gas was sacked". 10 police officers were injured and over 400 protesters requiring medical attention.

"The interior ministry must explain urgently the way it handled tonight's events".

"We want to return to Romania, but there's too much corruption and the health care is dismal", said Isabela Conduruta, a 45-year-old who's worked as a cleaner for 12 years in Germany.

Three journalists said they were also subjected to violence from the police.

In addition to protesters, some police officers were also injured when protesters retaliated, with some reportedly throwing bottles.

Numerous demonstrators are Romanian expats who have returned from across Europe to voice their anger at the government.

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According to the World Bank, up to a quarter of the Romanian population - between three and five million people - live and work overseas, sending back around $US5bn to one of the EU's least developed countries.

Protesters briefly clear the center of the square after riot police fired teargas outside the government headquarters, in Bucharest, Romania.

Liviu Dragnea, the head of the Social Democrats, received a 3½-year prison sentence for abuse of power in office, a decision he is appealing. The AP said that Georgian Enache, a police spokesman, said the police pushback on Friday was "legitimate state violence" because protesters were refusing to leave despite warnings.

Critics are angry over what they say is entrenched corruption, low wages and attempts by the governing Social Democrats (PSD) to weaken the judiciary, Reuters news agency reported.

In 2015, Romania's prime minister - a member of the Social Democratic Party who was tried for corruption, fraud and tax evasion while he was in office - resigned after a deadly nightclub fire that was blamed in part on corruption and poor safety oversight.

In a controversial move last month, Romania sacked top anti-graft prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi - considered a symbol of the country's fight against corruption. The changes are pending Constitutional Court challenges.

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