Bucharest: Romania’s president appealed for protesters’ support on Sunday in reforming the country, as the death toll rose to 45 from a horrific nightclub fire that brought down the government.
Klaus Iohannis was met with shouted slogans and whistles from demonstrators seeking “profound change” as he paid a visit to the capital’s University Square, the focal point of nearly a week of protests.
“It is only together that we can make this change, neither you alone, nor I alone can do it,” Iohannis told the several hundred-strong crowd on the sixth consecutive night of demonstrations.
Thousands of Romanians have taken to the streets in mass anti-government protests since the deadly October 30 blaze at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, which also left scores injured.
Many viewed compromised safety standards at the club as emblematic of a wider problem with rampant corruption in one of the European Union’s poorest nations.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who had been under pressure for weeks as he goes on trial on corruption charges, quit on Wednesday, saying it was right for top officials to take responsibility for the tragedy.
Among the latest victims of the fire to succumb to their injuries on Sunday was the drummer of a local hard rock group, who had been on stage when the inferno broke out and who was about to be transferred to a Swiss hospital for treatment.