Throngs of Bucharest citizens gathered in the city’s Constitution Square on Sunday to greet suspended President Traian Basescu who launched his campaign to prevent his ousting in a referendum in May, when Romanian voters will be asked to have their say on the suspension of the head of state.

Up to 10,000 people showed up for the demonstration despite mild weather and heard Basescu promise he would not step back before lawmakers who had him suspended.

Basescu used the occasion to launch a fierce attack on lawmakers who voted for his suspension saying that it’s not the Parliament he blames for the situation, which is unprecedented in Romanian politics. But he blames 322 lawmakers who “took their mandate from oligarchs” to vote him out of office.

His suspension was voted last Thursday by 322 MPs of a total of about four hundred and a half.

Basescu was accompanied in the Constitution Square by many of his traditional supporters, including ex-Justice minister Monica Macovei and ex-Interior minister Vasile Blaga. The two were representing Basescu’s Democratic Party (PD) in the government until earlier this month, when Liberal PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Basescu’s rival, removed PD from the coalition government.

Basescu accused the 322 lawmakers “of selling the ideals of the D.A. Alliance” of Democrats and Liberals who won the 2004 elections. “They sold it on smell of oil”, he said, referring to his repeated charges that PM Tariceanu was linked to energy moguls and supported by politicians with strong and often obscure links in the energy sector.

Demonstrators, most of them young, gathered in the Constitution Square starting 5 p.m. and left for their homes shortly after Basescu concluded his speech at about 7 p.m.

Basescu had also taken part in another demonstration in Brasov on Saturday, where some 1,000 of his supporters showed up.