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Protest ignites Bucharest suburb

de     HotNews.ro
Marţi, 14 noiembrie 2006, 0:00

Politician Becali exploits protest

Violent protests wreaked havoc for a second day in the Bucharest slum suburb Ferentari today, forcing gendarmes to intervene with water canons to bring silence to a couple of streets as local authorities flocked to the site to discuss the claims of the protesters.

Demonstrators turned to the streets on Monday and Tuesday to show their anger at the local electricity distributors who had cut energy deliveries to the neighborhood because of huge debts accumulated by Ferentari dwellers. The protests turned violent as people put fired up tires and stopped very short from clashing with the police.

Marian Vanghelie, mayor of Bucharest District 5 to which the suburb belongs, and Bucharest Prefect Mioara Mantale arrived at the scene of protests on Tuesday evening. But their efforts to cool things down failed. Mantale accused the protesters of “stealing” money from the electricity distributor as they haven’t paid their bills for years.

The violence, however, became a source of political capital as populist businessman-politician Gigi Becali also dropped in the middle of the events. Standing on his Maybach car, Becali, known as one of Romania’s richest businessmen, promised the protesters he would pay their bills himself.

He admitted, though, that he did not know what could be done if people continued to dodge their bills and steal electricity.




















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