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People power

Meet Romanians taking part in the country's biggest protests since the fall of communism

Meet Romanians taking part in the country’s biggest protests since the fall of Communism

This segment originally aired Feb. 6, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of thousands of Romanian citizens have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the Social Democrat government. The mass movement, triggered by the government’s emergency decree on corruption that would have decriminalized abuses of power, has turned into the biggest protest in Romania since the collapse of communism.

Romania has a long history of corruption. Government data shows that 1,250 public officials were indicted in 2015 alone. The decree would have allowed thousands of people already convicted and sentenced under crimes of bribery and corruption to be pardoned. The government said they lo longer plan to  pass the law, but citizens are still showing up to protest.

“It’s about accountability,” protester Octavia Cornea told VICE News correspondent Hind Hassan in Bucharest. “The people here want to hold politicians accountable for what they do.”

The government has called the response exaggerated and misinformed, and says it isn’t giving up on changing the law. Parliament plans to discuss a new draft of the bill, while protesters say they will keep up the pressure.

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