BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Police dispersed hundreds of miners early Thursday after they blocked a national highway and railway lines to protest falling living standards and possible job cuts.

Some 200 gold and zinc miners sat down across a central Romanian highway and railway track Wednesday, after the state electricity company cut power to four mines, affecting 5,000 miners. Dozens of trains were delayed, canceled or rerouted due to the protest.

Before dawn Thursday, 200 policemen moved in to break up the demonstration in Sandominic, a small town 140 miles north of Bucharest. The miners did not resist because they were ``hungry, tired and frozen,'' police spokesman Maj. Gheorghe Tudor said by telephone.

According to the state electricity company, the mines owe $1.5 million. The miners are demanding that the government reconnect their power and guarantee their jobs. Their demands will be discussed by the government later.

Last year, the government said unprofitable mines will be closed over the coming months and tens of thousands of mainly coal miners were laid off.

Miners in Romania are a volatile political force. Twice in the past decade, they rampaged through the capital, forcing a prime minister to resign and killing civilians _ the state counts only six victims, but citizens say the numbers are as high as 60.