Romania’s democracy is looking increasingly fragile. Last week, tens of thousands of people gathered on the streets of Bucharest to vent their anger at the Social Democrat (PSD)-led government. The protest was organised and attended by many from Romania’s large diaspora; thousands are estimated to have returned for the demonstration. The response from police was furious: water cannon, teargas and truncheons were used indiscriminately. Journalists and unfortunate tourists were caught up in the melee. This was the show of force that many feared would come, following 18-months of mass protests against a government many believe is moving in a sinister direction. Romania, it seems, is Europe’s new illiberal state.
The EU has hit back: on Monday, the Commission condemned Romania for its violence against journalists.