32 Nightclub Deaths Bring Down Romanian Government

Prime minister quits amid outrage
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2015 6:33 AM CST
32 Nightclub Deaths Bring Down Romanian Government
People stand in Victory Square during a protest in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest on Tuesday.   (Andreea Alexandru, Mediafax via AP)

Romanians who took to the streets in the wake of a nightclub fire that killed 32 people didn't just vent their anger, they brought down the government. Prime Minister Victor Ponta resigned Wednesday, as did the mayor of the district in Bucharest where the fire took place, reports the AP. "I am obliged to take note of the legitimate grievances which exist in society," said Ponta. "I hope handing in my and my government's mandate will satisfy the demands of protesters." About 20,000 rallied in Bucharest Tuesday night, charging that widespread corruption led to weak safety inspections and permits for those with the right connections, reports the New York Times. One popular sign: "Corruption Kills."

Ponta's government seemed doomed when President Klaus Iohannis voiced his support for the protests as they were unfolding. "I am impressed by this evening’s demonstrations," he wrote on Facebook. "The next step is for politicians, who cannot ignore this sentiment of revolt." Ponta already faced pressure to quit because he was on trial for corruption charges stemming from his work as a lawyer before entering government, reports AFP. Iohannis will now name a prime minister to form a new government. About 200 people also were injured in the fire, which started when a fireworks display went awry in a converted shoe factory. (More Romania stories.)

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