Romanians took to the street last night for a second night of protests demanding the resignation of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SDP) over claims of corruption.
Protests in Bucharest turned violent, with Euronews videos showing riot police officers beating demonstrators into the ground.
A man wearing a white t-shirt can be seen surrounded by four policemen in full gear trying to run away from them. One officer can also be seen kicking the man trying to trip him as he makes his escape.
Social media footage shows the protesters assembled on a large street scrambling as the police begin giving chase and shooting tear gas to control the crowd.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis condemned the «brutal intervention of the riot police» which left 70 people in need of medical attention.
Around 7,000 protestors waved Romanian and European Union flags and chanted “party of thieves” as they called for the government to resign, with demonstrators joining the rally through the evening.
Tens of thousands also staged peaceful protests in other Romanian cities including Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi and Sibiu, marching against attempts to weaken the fight against corruption in the country.
Police spokesman Georgian Enache defended the action of the officers, saying «the legitimate state violence» was justified as protesters had repeatedly been warned to leave Victory Square in Bucharest.
Interior Minister Carmen Dan also came out in support of the police who had not «intervened against peaceful protesters but against dangerous hooligans who attacked the state’s authority.»
Some protesters threw bottles and other objects at police, who used tear gas and water cannon in retaliation, resulting in people on both sides requiring brief medical attention.
The protestors were organised by Romanian expat groups operating overseas.
An estimated 3 to 5 million Romanians are working and living abroad, the World Bank has said, or about a quarter of the European Union state’s overall population. Romanian workers abroad sent home just under $5billion (£3.9billion) in 2017.
The money provides a lifeline for rural communities in one of the EU’s least developed countries.
Among the protesters was truck driver Daniel Ostafi, 42, who moved to Italy 15 years ago in search of a future he says Romania could not offer his family.
Mr Ostafi said: «I left to give my children a better life, which was not possible here then.
«Unfortunately, it is still not possible, the … people who govern us are not qualified and they are corrupt.”