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Strikes, Anti-Government Demonstrations Intensify in Romania

January 13, 1991

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ About 10,000 protesters rallied in the capital Saturday against the government of President Ion Iliescu, and more workers joined a strike in the western city of Timisoara.

The participants in the Bucharest rally, organized by the opposition group Civic Alliance, marched up the capital’s main boulevard, blocking traffic and shouting anti-Iliescu slogans of ″Resign, Resign, Resign 3/8″

Iliescu and his National Salvation Front, which took power after the December 1989 revolution against Communist rule and then won May elections, are being increasingly buffeted by a population frustrated over declining living standards.

There have been more calls for the resignation of Iliescu and the government of Premier Petre Roman since prices rose Nov. 1 following a partial decontrol. The move was part of Roman’s planned economic reforms.

Some protesters waved pictures of former King Michael.

″Iliescu, what are you waiting for - King Michael is coming back 3/8″ the crowd shouted.

Iliescu and the government have also come under pressure for deporting Michael on Dec. 26 shortly after he arrived in the country for his first visit since he was forced by the Communists to abdicate in 1947.

In Timisoara, a government delegation led by Industry Minister Mihai Zisu held talks with union leaders representing striking workers Saturday, but the two sides issued contradictory statements.

Thousands of workers have been on strike since mid-December for improved supplies of goods and to back demands for the government’s resignation.

While the government delegation said the talks resolved some issues, the union leaders insisted nothing had been resolved.

The government delegation, in its statement, promised to provide Timisoara with ″more raw materials and financial credits.″

But the union leaders said changing nationwide distribution to favor Timisoara did not amount to a solution.

The strike this weekend now includes 16 factories employing 40,000 workers, union officials said.

About 22,000 students are also on strike, demanding the government resign.

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