Miners and Protesters Clash in Romania
BUCHAREST, ROMANIA — THOUSANDS of miners supporting Romanian President Ion Iliescu controlled central Bucharest yesterday. Troops secured key government buildings following what Mr. Iliescu called a right-wing coup attempt. The miners flocked to the capital in response to an appeal from Iliescu for support in crushing antigovernment violence.
Health Ministry officials said four people were killed and 184 injured in a day of fighting that began before dawn Wednesday, when club-wielding police broke up a seven-week anticommunist protest in central University Square.
In a speech broadcast over state radio, Iliescu urged the miners to occupy University Square. ``You, in cooperation with the order-keeping forces, shall be the guardians of this vital part of the capital,'' Iliescu told them, urging them to avoid ``excesses and bloody acts.''
Some supporters of the ruling National Salvation Front tore up the offices of the opposition National Liberal Party. Others reportedly massed outside the offices of opposition newspapers, demanding that they be closed.
Calling supporters of democracy to Bucharest, Iliescu said Wednesday's violence was part of ``an organized attempt to remove by force and violence the country's elected leaders.''
Antigovernment protesters Wednesday fought running battles with riot police and set fire to the city police headquarters with gasoline bombs. They seized the state television station, which went off the air for an hour.