Protests Continue, Romanian President Meets With Civic Alliance Leaders
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ Opposition leaders met Wednesday with President Ion Iliescu to discuss demands for a new broad-based Cabinet as strikes and protests continued against the government.
Several thousand anti-government demonstrators rallied in Timisoara, 280 miles northwest of Bucharest, where they have been protesting all week. It was in Timisoara one year ago that the country’s popular revolution began.
In Bucharest, several hundred students demonstrated outside the state television building in support of Dumitru Iuga, head of the Free TV Union. Iuga has been on a hunger strike for 19 days demanding the ouster of television executives left over from the Communist dictatorship.
All domestic flights were canceled and international flights were subject to long delays as employees of the state airline Tarom continued their strike.
The independent daily Romania Libera said the navigators’ union from the Black Sea port of Constanta called for a general strike as a ″sign of solidarity″ with students who are boycotting classes. It did not say when such a strike would begin or if there had been any positive response from workers.
In Timisoara, student strikers have been joined by about 50,000 workers from 11 area factories.
Union leaders in the city said Wednesday that 16 more factories had joined the warning strike. They did not say how many workers the factories employed.
Meanwhile, a delegation from the non-parliamentary opposition Civic Alliance met with Iliescu to press demands for the formation of a ″government of national unity.″
Marian Munteanu, a prominent student leader who was elected temporary president of the Civic Alliance last week, said he was ″very satisfied″ with the talks.
National Liberal Party leader Radu Campeanu urged the formation of a unity government in talks with the president last Thursday.
Campeanu asked Iliescu to replace Premier Petre Roman with ″a neutral person not affiliated with the National Salvation Front.″
The Front, which includes former Communist officials, ruled provisionally until May, when it won free elections. Critics say the government has failed to resolve the nation’s economic woes.
There has been growing public dissatisfaction with the government as economic reforms, including price increases, have taken effect.
Roman, in line with his program of sweeping economic reform designed to create a market economy, urged parliament Wednesday to expedite a law granting farmers and peasants ownership of the land they cultivate, thus disbanding the state farms set up under Communist rule.
The law would give peasants the land they work and the right to buy more. However, no one would be permitted to own more than 250 acres.
Last year’s revolution ousted dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed on Christmas Day along with his wife, Elena.