Thousands took to the streets in Romania's capital Bucharest and other cities on Sunday, November 3rd protesting against widespread illegal logging that people believe was behind the deaths of two forest workers in the past two months, Reuters reported.
Local television stations said an estimated 4,000 people in central Bucharest had marched towards the Ministry of Water and Forestry, beating drums and chanting, "Our forest is not your commodity" and "thieves."
The protests were organised by Romania's Greenpeace and other environmental groups and demanded thorough criminal investigation into the killings and attacks on forest workers, the immediate modernisation of the logging system and tighter laws to control logging and punish illegal loggers.
A trade union said six forest workers had been killed over the past few years, while 650 others had been beaten, attacked with axes, knives and bullets after illegal loggers were seized.
There were smaller rallies in other Romanian cities on Sunday, with protesters holding banners reading, "The Threat of the Weather" and "Save the Forest."
Romania has some of Europe's last virgin forests and diverse wildlife. Studies by Greenpeace groups say Romania is losing three to nine hectares of forest every hour due to illegal logging.