Death toll rises in Romania during anti-corruption protests

A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask stands above protesters shouting slogans against the Romanian politicians during the fourth day of protests, joined by tens of thousands across the country, calling for early elections, in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Large street protests followed the Oct. 30 nightclub fire, which many Romanians blame on a weak enforcement of regulations and corruption. The street protesters have condemned the nation’s politicians as arrogant and corrupt and isolated from the problems of ordinary people. Banners read" You are feeding on our hunger," top left, "The culprits must pay," bottom left, and " not even you are above the law: in reference to politicians," far right bottom. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Several thousand protesters gathered in Bucharest for the fourth consecutive evening late Friday night, waving Romanian flags and calling for better governance and an end to corruption.

Protesters came with their children and dogs. Some played drums and sang in memory of the rock band Goodbye to Gravity, which was playing at Colectiv when a spark from a pyrotechnic show ignited foam decor, setting off an inferno.

“We want a decent standard of life, not a criminal state!” read one banner. Another banner carried the hashtag “#corruptionkills.”

Many in Romania blamed lax government safety standards for the deadly blaze. Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his Cabinet resigned Wednesday after mass protests.

“The political class is inefficient and corrupt. We need a government of technocrats or experts,” said protester Cristina Lotrea, a 22-year-old sociology researcher.

Six more people have died of their injuries a week after a fire broke out in a Bucharest nightclub, bringing the number of deaths in the tragedy to 38, Romanian authorities said Saturday.

Raed Arafat, an emergency situations official, said Saturday that two people had died at the state burns hospital, while the manager at University Hospital, Catalin Cirstoiu, said a man there died of his injuries Saturday.

Interim Prime Minister Sorin Campeanu said three other victims had succumbed Saturday, two patients who had been sent to the Netherlands for specialized burn treatments and another patient at the Floreasca emergency hospital in Bucharest.

He said 109 other people still remain hospitalized, 48 of them in serious or critical condition, from the Oct. 30 blaze that erupted at the Colectiv basement nightclub during a heavy-metal concert. Panicked people fled for the sole exit in a stampede, leaving 180 injured.

Outside the torched Bucharest nightclub late Friday, hundreds gathered to mark the one week anniversary of the fire.

They stood in near silence. Many sobbed quietly, others hugged each other as they stood, crouched or kneeled in front of a sea of flickering candles paying tribute to the dead. Church bells rang out for several minutes to commemorate the dead.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s