Some 6,500 inmates at 26 Romanian prisons refused food on Monday morning - the fourth day of protests against living conditions and in favour of an amnesty for those with short-term sentences. The protest comes as a parliamentary committee has rejected a draft law that would have provided a pardon for some 10,000 prisoners whose sentences do not exceed fiv years.

It is the largest such protest in Romania’s penitentiary system.

PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu summoned Justice minister Monica Macovei and the head of the Penitentiary Administration Alexandru Serban to talks on the situation on Monday. Tariceanu urged the two to provide a report on the situation after several days of protests in prisons across the country.

The hunger strike - accompanied by other forms of non-violent protests, started at the Codlea Penitentiary in Central Romania last Thursday. It comes as independent deputy Nati Meir, who has pushed legislation to pardon short-term inmates, saw his bill rejected in the Parliament.