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AP: Romanians form EU flag during 27th night of protests


 Thousands of Romanians have staged another anti-government protest, standing together to form a European Union flag to signal support for the bloc and its values, AP correspondent reports.

Several thousand gathered in Bucharest's Victory Square late Sunday, the 27th consecutive evening of protests against the center-left government.

Demonstrators shouted "Resignation!" and "You thieves," then later stood in the shape of the EU flag's circle of 12 yellow stars on a blue background. The flag signifies unity among Europeans.

Police closed roads leading to the square where the government has its offices.

Romanians have been taking part in nightly protests since the government passed a since-rescinded ordinance last month that would have eased penalties for some official misconduct.

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered for a pro-government rally in southern Romania, hoping to boost the popularity of the center-left government following massive anti-corruption protests, AP correspondent reports.

Braving the pouring rain, supporters of the ruling Social Democratic Party gathered in the town of Targoviste, a party stronghold, and sang patriotic songs to voice their support for Premier Sorin Grindeanu's two-month-old government.

Supporters waved Romanian flags and banners reading "My vote counts" and "We dare to believe in Romania."

An ISSPOL survey published on Feb. 14 showed support for the Social Democrats had dropped to 31 percent, down from 46 percent in the election.

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Romanians have demonstrated across the country after Grindeanu decriminalized some forms of official misconduct. He eventually withdrew the emergency decree, but protests demanding that Romania keep up the fight against corruption have continued.

The current government has survived a motion of no confidence in Parliament and the head of the PSD, Liviu Dragnea, announced earlier this week that 1,4 million people had signed a petition to keep Grindeanu’s team in power.

At this moment, there are no signs that PM Grindeanu intends to step down. Going forward, president Klaus Iohannis is expected to announce the date for the organization of a referendum on Romania’s anti-corruption campaign, în a move that haas been backed by MP's.