Row Deepens between President and Police in Romania

Five thousand angry police officers threw their helmets in protest at the Romanian President’s Palace last week, and the head of state retaliated by officially giving up on their services for his personal protection. Now, Traian Băsescu wants the protesting police officers and fire fighters tried for defamation of national symbols, a crime under article 236 of the Romanian Penal Code, carrying a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.

“The state coat of arms was on the helmets they threw away, that is a state symbol. They did that wearing their uniforms, another state symbol”, said the President, during a press briefing. The battle rages on, as trade unions and journalists side with the disgruntled Ministry of the Interior workers, who have lost from 25 to 40 percent of their incomes, because of the budget cuts ordered by the President, at the request of the IMF.

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