The protests, in their fourth day, are the most serious since President Traian Basescu came to power in 2004. They are the result of frustration against public wage cuts, slashed benefits, higher taxes, cronyism in state institutions and widespread corruption.
Protests began Thursday in support of a health official who resigned because he opposed government health care reforms. Basescu withdrew the health care bill Friday, but protests continued.
Anger has mainly been directed against the once-popular Romanian president. Basescu, 60, vowed to be a hands-on president when he came to power in 2004. He regularly gave interviews in supermarkets, was filmed dancing with his wife in restaurants and enjoyed a reputation as a man of the people.