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Romania Workers Protest Poverty

Romania Workers Protest Poverty
AP. 22 November 2001. Romania Workers Protest Poverty.

BUCHAREST -- About 10,000 workers marched through Romania's capital on
Thursday to protest poverty, low wages and corruption in national

Some protesters claimed times were better under communism.

"More than a decade since the (1989) anti-communist uprising, Romania is
among the last in Europe in living standards and attracting foreign
investment," said Bogdan Hossu, head of the Alfa Cartel, a large union
that organized the demonstration.

The protesters stopped in front of the government headquarters in
downtown Bucharest to call for the government to resign. They chanted
"thieves"; "down with corruption," and "Ceausescu, where are you?" in
reference to former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

The government raised utility prices last month as part of a plan to
bring them up to international levels. Monthly utilities now can cost up
to $50, a strain on budgets in a country where the average monthly
salary is about $100.

After three years of recession between 1997-2000, about 35 percent of
the population lives below the poverty line, defined as a monthly wage
of $40.

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Barry Stoller
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