“What the government does, the streets can undo” may seem like just a slogan, but weeks of anti-austerity protests have forced the resignation of Romania's prime minister Emil Boc. The protests began when a solidarity demonstration with deputy health minister Raed Arafat took a violent turn. Arafat had announced his resignation in opposition to a draft healthcare reform bill that partially privatised the healthcare system. Riot police used tear gas against protesters, who responded by throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails.
A visiting International Monetary Fund official urged ministers in the Romanian capital of Bucharest to rebuff union demands for an increase to the minimum wage, the Morning Star said on October 20. The monthly minimum wage in Romania is just 600 lei (less than $200). But IMF mission chief Jeffrey Franks, in Romania to review the right-wing government’s progress in implementing an austerity program in return for a major IMF loan, warned any increase in the minimum wage would discourage bosses from hiring new staff.
Trans-Continental Hustle Gogol Bordello Colombia/ DMZ Review by Mat Ward Gogol Bordello have always said their aim is to smuggle Roma music into mainstream Western society. Their latest album, produced by former Beastie Boys DJ-turned-super-producer Rick Rubin, might just do that. The US-based band, whose music combines elements of traditional Romani music with punk rock, is largely made up of Eastern European Roma immigrants who understand the long-standing persecution of their people.
Sixty thousand public-sector workers from across Romania rallied in central Bucharest on May 19 to protest against government plans to slash their wages and benefits under a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU). Civil servants, teachers, doctors and retirees blew whistles and yelled “Down with the lying government!” and “You have pawned our future”, as they protested outside government offices in Victoriei Square.