News / Europe

Romanian PM Fires Foreign Minister for Insulting Protesters

An anti-government protester holds a picture of the country's President Traian Basescu, altered to depict him as a Nazi, in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012.
An anti-government protester holds a picture of the country's President Traian Basescu, altered to depict him as a Nazi, in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012.

Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc has fired his foreign minister for insulting comments he made about anti-government protesters, who have taken to the streets to demonstrate against spending cuts and other austerity measures.

Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi wrote on his Internet blog last week that Romanians who work for a living will decide the country's future, not, in his words, the "violent and clueless slums."

In a speech to parliament Monday, Mr. Boc apologized to the country and said he fired Baconschi for his inappropriate remarks.

The foreign minister's comments caused outrage, but some opposition leaders say the dismissal does not go far enough.

Thousands of protesters have gathered in the capital, Bucharest, over the past 10 days to voice their anger at the government of President Traian Basescu over the austerity measures and call for early elections.

Although most protests have been peaceful, some clashes between protesters and police have turned violent.

The spending cuts are required as part of a multi-billion-dollar loan from the World Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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