Romania: Miners and Mayhem

Miners and Mayhem

How times change. In June 1990, 6,000 coal miners from western Romania rampaged through Bucharest at President Ion Iliescu's invitation to break up an antigovernment protest. Last week 7,000 miners from the same region again took to the streets of the capital. Their aim: to oust Prime Minister Petre Roman, whom they had supported just 15 months before.

At the center of the protest was Roman's October 1990 introduction of Western-style economic reforms, which have led to an inflation rate of 170%. Fed up with low pay and high prices, miners hijacked trains and descended on Bucharest. That night thousands of...

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