Romanians protest new corruption law

Riot police clash with protesters Wednesday in front of government headquarters in Bucharest.

Story highlights

  • Romanians fill the square near the building where the country's Cabinet meets
  • They are protesting laws that could make life easier for new ruling party

(CNN)Protesters filled Bucharest's Victory Square on Wednesday night after the Romanian government adopted an emergency law that decriminalizes corruption.

Romanian emergency services officials said five people -- three protesters and two law enforcement officers -- were hospitalized with undisclosed injuries.
    Many protesters wave Romanian flags or hold up signs Wednesday in Bucharest.
    Video from the Romanian capital showed several helmeted police officers, separated from demonstrators by a barricade, aiming pepper spray at the protesters.
      A few people threw flares and other objects at the security forces and pushed dumpsters full of trash into the street. A small fire began later.
      Riot police detain some protesters Wednesday in Bucharest.
      Many protesters waved Romanian flags or brought signs.
      As Wednesday became Thursday, most protesters had left the square near the building that houses Romania's Cabinet.
        Protesters also took to the streets in 50 other cities across the country, including Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Sibiu, Brasov, Arad, Galati, Craiova, Constanta and Alba-Iulia.
        Demonstrators dismantle advertisements during protests Wednesday in Bucharest.
        A new decree passed by the Romanian government decriminalizes corruption that causes damage worth less than about $48,000 (200,000 lei).
        The measure takes effect in a little over a week. Once it does it will stop all ongoing investigations for this kind of offense and will also prevent the launching of any subsequent probes related to these offenses.
        Another decree adopted Tuesday night could also free some officials who are in prison for corruption.
        An officer uses pepper spray on protesters trying to enter government headquarters Tuesday.