Thousands of people marched through the Romanian capital and other cities on Sunday evening to protest against government proposals to pardon scores of convicted prisoners.
The government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu is to use emergency decrees rather than parliament to bring in the changes.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis joined the 15,000 or so demonstraters.
“This is totally unacceptable. This means that hundreds of corrupt politicians will be cleared to carry on with their misdeeds. Romanians do have a point, to be utterly outraged.”
The prime minister claims the move will ease overcrowding in prisons but critics complain it threatens to undermine a crackdown on high-level graft.
Prison authorities say nearly 4,000 prisoners could be freed. The government says it is more like 2,500.