Romania braces for fresh protest after clashes injure 450

Romanians take part in a demonstration in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest on Friday

Romanian police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse anti-corruption protesters in Bucharest on Friday, after tens of thousands rallied to call on the leftwing government to resign.

The anti-government protest in Bucharest Friday drew tens of thousands Romanians from overseas and local residents who demanded the government resign over moves to change laws that critics say would make it harder to prosecute corruption.

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

President Klaus Iohannis, an opponent of the Socialist Democrat-led government and a vocal critic of its corruption policy, criticised the police reaction as "brutal".

Three journalists said they were also subjected to police violence.

"This government is crassly incompetent and corrupt", said Mircea Campeanu, a medical auditor living in the Netherlands who drove to Romania to attend the protest.

The protesters also held a moment of silence in memory of those who died in the 1989 Revolution and several speakers accused the political system of lacking alternatives, state media reports.

Reuters reported that they were yelling "Resignation!" in front of government buildings.

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So far the protest near the government offices has been noisy but peaceful.

The money provides a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU's least developed countries.

The demonstrations stem from some Romanians' long-standing frustrations with the ruling Social Democrats (PSD).

In July, President Iohannis approved the dismissal of anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who had been leading corruption investigations into local and national politicians.

Romania was ranked 49th out of 180 on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for previous year, below most other European nations. Those changes made it through parliament but are now being challenged in the country's constitutional court.

"We strongly condemn the violent clashes in Bucharest where many demonstrators and journalists have been injured", Austrian chancellor Sebastina Kurz wrote on his Twitter account.

In early 2017, Romanian protesters took to the streets in response to a decree that loosened corruption laws. "We expect a full explanation".

Some people sustained head and other injuries, while others were overcome by tear gas, authorities said.

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