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Demonstrations in Timisoara, Students Prolong Strike

December 21, 1990

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ The vice president of the ruling National Salvation Front Party announced on Thursday he would resign from Parliament as he was booed off the speakers’ platform by workers rallying in Timisoara.

Claudio Iordache left the Opera Square stage as 15,000 workers continued more than a week of anti-government protests in the Western city where last year’s revolution began.

In Bucharest, student leaders decided to continue indefinitely their two- week-old strike. After two days of debate, the Convention of Bucharest Students announced they would continue pressing demands first aired on Dec. 7, including the resignation of President Ion Iliescu.

An estimated 100,000 students in Bucharest, Timisoara, Craiova, Cluj, Iasi and other cities were on strike.

The students and workers are demanding the resignation of Iliescu and the National Salvation Front government, charging it has failed to bring sufficient democracy to Romania and revive its moribund economy.

In Timisoara, union officials estimated Thursday that 75,000 workers were on strike, with 27 local factories either striking or functioning only partially.

Large anti-government demonstrations were expected Friday in Bucharest, marking a year since the revolution spread to the capital.

The Front took power during the revolution and won elections in May, but it has lost popularity since economic reforms caused widespread price hikes two months ago. For the past two weeks, people from many sectors of the economy have been on strike.

In an attempt to end one of the most damaging strikes, government officials met Thursday with representatives of the navigators of the national airline Tarom, whose six-day-old walkout has paralyzed all internal flights.

International flights were either canceled or delayed, and Bucharest’s Otopeni airport was flooded with transit travelers stranded in Romania.

State TV Free Union head Dumitru Iuga, who has been on hunger strike for 20 days demanding the resignation of TV officials left over from the old regime, announced he was giving up his strike Thursday.

″I feel I must listen to those who have been telling me my place is with the workers,″ said Iuga.

In Timisoara, the rallying workers had previously marched through most of the sites where the army and secret police killed protesters in the first rallies against the Nicolae Ceausescu regime.

Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were slain on Dec. 25 by a firing squad.

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