BUCHAREST, Romania — Israel’s embassy on Monday protested to the Romanian government, after four Israeli tourists were allegedly dragged out of a taxi and beaten by riot police in Bucharest, during a violent anti-corruption protest.
The embassy described the Friday night attack as “unacceptable and extremely serious.”
It said the tourists were returning to their hotel in the Romanian capital of Bucharest when police stopped them.
“They were dragged out of the car, even though they showed their passports and explained they had nothing” to do with the protest, the embassy said, adding that the men would file a criminal complaint.
Footage from the incident was broadcast Monday on Romanian TV.
ל-@kann_news נודע כי משרד החוץ ביקש הבהרות מרומניה על הכאת 3 הישראלים ע"י שוטרים בסמוך להפגנה לפני מספר ימים. היום התפרסם ברומניה תיעוד של התקרית ובשגרירות ישראל ברומניה אומרים: "אנו מתייחסים לאירוע בחומרה רבה – הישראלים יגישו תלונה" @kann_news pic.twitter.com/jUQPl8o6tb
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) August 13, 2018
“The cops simply started beating us and going crazy,” one of the detainees, Avi Sade, told Israel’s Hadashot TV on Monday. “They took me out of the taxi. I had a very expensive watch that fell and I didn’t find it.
“They had helmets, bats and special tools. They shot in the air like we were criminals, even terrorists,” he added.
Police in Bucharest did not immediately react to the statement.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, however, said that “the brutal repression of demonstrators is totally unacceptable.”
“In a European state, attacking innocent people, attacking journalists, attacking women and children is inconceivable,” he said Monday, calling for a thorough investigation into police brutality during the anti-government protest.
Some 500 people needed medical treatment after police fired tear gas and water cannons to break up the protest against government corruption. Some people lobbed rocks and bottles at police.