People run as riot police charges to clear the square during protests outside the government headquarters, in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018. Romanians who live abroad are staging an anti-government protest calling on the left-wing government to resign and an early election.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romanian PM tells EU: Force against protesters was justified

August 17, 2018 - 2:05 pm

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's prime minister has defended the use of force by riot police during a violent anti-government protest that left more than 450 people injured.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila sent a letter to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday in which she alleged that other politicians, including President Klaus Iohannis, had tried to "violently remove a legitimate government." She said police legally responded to the violence.

Romania's riot police have been accused of being heavy-handed with the mainly peaceful protesters in the Aug 10 anti-corruption protest. More than 200 criminal complaints have been filed against police. Dancila said authorities were investigating the claims.

Protesters are holding a vigil Friday to mark a week since police fired tear gas and water cannons.

Dancila's letter was her first comment on the protest.

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