Romanian police fire into air as residents brawl in the streets to protest COVID-19 lockdown rules

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

Romanian police fired into the air to disperse street fights that erupted with residents taking to the streets in a number of communities around the country to protest COVID-19 lockdown rules. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Romania’s police chief Liviu Vasilescu said Monday that officers made four arrests in the the western city of Hunedoara, and eight were detained eight people in Brasov after a street fight broke out in a suburb of the city.

Residents attacked a car with sticks and beat the driver in the Sacele district of Brasov on Sunday. Police fired into the air to quell the brawl.

Brasov county police spokeswoman Nadia Olaru said an investigation was under way, after a fight erupted after some residents reportedly consumed alcohol.

In the western city of Hunedoara, protesters hurled stones at police who fired into the air to disperse the crowd. People were apparently angry that they could not go out during the Easter holidays due to restrictions imposed during the state of emergency designed to contain the spread of the virus.

Vasilescu said police interventions were appropriate, noting there were no serious injuries.

“We don’t leave it to chance. We acted correctly and the situation is under control,” Vasilescu said Monday.

Fights also broke out in the Bucharest district of Rahova over the weekend. Some 19 people were arrested over the violence.

Fifty people were fined for taking part in various outbreaks of violence. Authorities are pursuing criminal charges in Brasov, Vasilescu said.

Despite the violent incidents, there was 17% less crime during Easter than last year, and 10% less than in 2018, Vasilescu said.

Police fined almost 4,800 people a total of 11.8 million lei on Sunday for breaking lockdown rules.

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