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Several injured in Romania protest


A dozen people including a cameraman and four policemen were injured in the Romanian capital Saturday after clashes with demonstrators protesting the government's austerity programme, local media said.

A police spokesman, Georgian Enache, confirmed that one police officer had been seriously injured and two others discharged after treatment.

"One policeman suffered a severe head injury and was hospitalised, two others were allowed to leave the hospital after being treated," he said.

A cameraman from the private TV channel Antena 3 was also injured by protesters who pelted police with stones, media said.

Around 30 protesters were taken into police custody, Enache added.

Hundreds of Romanians had rallied in Bucharest to protest against austerity measures and planned health care reforms, calling on President Traian Basescu to quit.

Some of them, chanting anti-Basescu slogans, marched towards the presidential palace, closely monitored by police.

Clashes erupted between demonstrators who blocked traffic in University Square and riot police.

Police used tear gas on the demonstrators, witnesses told local media.

One retired woman, Rodica Patran, said she objected to a pension freeze and a 25 percent cut in public wages adopted by the centre-right government in July 2010.

"We can no longer stand the poverty, enough is enough," she told AFP.

Protesters were also called out to support the founder of Romania's emergency medical services, Raed Arafat.

Arafat, a Palestinian-born doctor, was forced to resign earlier this week after a row with President Basescu over controversial health reform proposals.

Hundreds of Romanians staged anti-government protests in several other cities.