Romanian PM calls for unity as thousands protest (from Breaking News-deseret News)

Romanian PM calls for unity as thousands protest (from Breaking News-deseret News)

Romanian PM calls for unity as thousands protest (from Breaking News-Deseret News) (click here to learn more!)

 Excerpts from report:  “In 2010, the government hiked sales tax from 19 to 24 percent, and cut public workers salaries by one-fourth to reduce the budget deficit. Romanians are also angry over cronyism, widespread corruption and a perception that the government is not interested in the problems of ordinary people in this nation of 22 million.

A 21-year Romanian Army officer became a symbol of the protest late Monday. Lt. Alexandru Gheorghe’s call for the nation’s dignity to be restored attracted widespread attention because it is illegal for Army members to protest publicly.

Gheorghe said he traveled some 500 kilometers (312 miles) to Bucharest from his military base to join the protesters.

“I can no longer bear the way we are insulted,” by the current government, he said in comments broadcast on Antena 3 TV.

“I saw old people beaten (in the protests) and said to myself that we, the officers, who could die tomorrow in a mission in Afghanistan, must have the courage to fight and tell the truth here in our country,” Gheorghe said.

Romania has about 1,700 troops serving in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led force there.

The defense ministry said it was investigating what action to take against Gheorghe.

Boc also appointed a new foreign minister to replace Teodor Baconschi, who was fired monday for making insulting comments about the protesters. Cristian Diaconescu, a lawmaker and supporter of President Traian Basescu, previously served as foreign minister in 2009.”

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