Thousands protest in Romania austerity measures

BUCHAREST, Romania — Authorities say more than 5,000 Romanians have gathered to protest against wage cuts and austerity measures, as the country is mired in recession.
The protesters Wednesday were demanding the government increases salaries to the 2009 level and stop layoffs of public workers.
Authorities slashed public sector wages hiked sales tax to reduce the budget deficit, as the International Monetary Fund requested.
Romania needed €20 billion (US$26 billion) in bailout loans from the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009. Part of the funds helped pay state wages and pensions last year, when the country's economy shrank by 7.1 percent.
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