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Tensions in Romania’s ruling party over violent protest

September 4, 2018
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 file photo, the Mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, attends the unveiling of a monument that celebrates circus arts, in Bucharest, Romania. Mayor Firea claims party colleagues are trying to indirectly blame her for the police response to an anti-corruption protest on Aug. 10, that left 450 people injured when police tried to break up the protest, and leading to public complaints of mistreatment by police. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 file photo, the Mayor of Bucharest, Gabriela Firea, attends the unveiling of a monument that celebrates circus arts, in Bucharest, Romania. Mayor Firea claims party colleagues are trying to indirectly blame her for the police response to an anti-corruption protest on Aug. 10, that left 450 people injured when police tried to break up the protest, and leading to public complaints of mistreatment by police. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru, File)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The mayor of Bucharest claimed Tuesday party colleagues are trying to indirectly blame her for the police response to an anti-corruption protest that left 450 people injured.

Fallout over the Aug. 10 protest has led to tensions in Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party, after 750 people filed legal complaints against riot police alleging mistreatment.

Mayor Gabriela Firea, who appeared as a witness before prosecutors Tuesday over the protest, later claimed some Social Democrats are trying to make her former aide, Bucharest prefect Speranta Cliseru, a scapegoat for the violence. The prefect ordered police to break up the protest. Firea said the prefect merely signed off on an order initiated by riot police.

In an apparent dig at party leader Liviu Dragnea, Firea said: “We won’t always accept the truth being distorted, being manipulated and for manipulations to be put out there” about us. Firea has called for Dragnea aide Carmen Dan, the interior minister, to resign over the police violence, but the party has backed Dan.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannons and truncheons during the protest attended by tens of thousands. Some individuals lobbed rocks and bottles at police.

Firea was abroad on the day of the protest.

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