Romania: Blood in the Square

Blood in the Square

Armed with axes, scythes and stout wooden clubs, rival groups of Romanians and ethnic Hungarians closed in on each other on a balmy spring evening last week. For a while only taunts and epithets were hurled. Then weapons flashed, and blood stained the Square of the Roses in downtown Tirgu Mures, an industrial city in Transylvania. By the time the army intervened, three people were dead and scores wounded.

The fighting was a new blow to Romania's provisional government and a brutal reminder of how easily ethnic tensions can explode in Eastern Europe. Freed from the iron rule of the Ceausescu...

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