Leaping Romanian

An engineer has made a dramatic
protest against austerity measures in Romania – by leaping head-first from a
balcony at the nation’s parliament.

Adrian Sobaru dived from a 23ft
balcony into the debating chamber ahead of a no-confidence vote in the
government.

He suffered fractures to his face
but was not seriously injured.

Although politicians were sitting
and standing underneath the balcony when he jumped, no one else was hurt.

Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc –
who had just greeted politicians ahead of the no-confidence debate – looked
startled after Mr Sobaru’s headlong dive and rushed over to him.

Mr Sobaru was wearing a T-shirt
carrying the slogan: “You’ve pierced us. You’ve killed our children’s
future. Freedom.”

The first phrase appeared to be a
reference to a comment by President Traian Basescu upon winning the 2009
election – “I’ve pierced them”, a line from a Romanian movie.

Mr Sobaru – who was identified by
the country’s television station as one of its engineers – was carried out of
the chamber on a stretcher shouting “freedom”.

Authorities said he would undergo
surgery and psychological counselling. The parliamentary session was postponed.

Romania recently slashed public
sector wages by a quarter as part of its efforts to climb out of recession. It
also raised sales taxes from 19 per cent to 24 per cent.

The country is commemorating the
21st anniversary of the uprising which overthrew a communist dictatorship, in
which authorities shot unarmed protesters.

Many Romanians are angered by
government cuts.

Mr Boc called the incident “a
tragedy that shocked me” and appealed for calm “in these tough
times”.

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Mr Sobaru will undergo psychological counselling.
Photo: Sky News
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