Europe

Romania's president seeks to annul graft law amid protests

  • Romanian riot police detain a man, face covered in blood, after minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Brief clashes broke out between protesters and police in Romania's capital, as tens of thousands of people protested for the second night a government decision to decriminalise official misconduct. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Romanian riot police detain a man, face covered in blood, after minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Brief clashes broke out between protesters and police in Romania's capital, as tens of thousands of people protested for the second night a government decision to decriminalise official misconduct. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Men throw objects at a line of Romanian riot police after minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Protesters and riot police clashed sporadically in Romania's capital late Wednesday as tens of thousands demonstrated against the government for decriminalizing some official misconduct, a move that critics at home and abroad called a major a setback for the anti-corruption fight. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Men throw objects at a line of Romanian riot police after minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Protesters and riot police clashed sporadically in Romania's capital late Wednesday as tens of thousands demonstrated against the government for decriminalizing some official misconduct, a move that critics at home and abroad called a major a setback for the anti-corruption fight. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Romanian riot police protect the government building from crowds before minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Brief clashes broke out between protesters and police in Romania¹s capital, as tens of thousands of people protested for the second night a government decision to decriminalise official misconduct. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Romanian riot police protect the government building from crowds before minor clashes erupted during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Brief clashes broke out between protesters and police in Romania┬╣s capital, as tens of thousands of people protested for the second night a government decision to decriminalise official misconduct. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

Romania's president will ask the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional a government decree that dilutes what qualifies as corruption amid major protests against the measure.

President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday that he would take the emergency decree to the court, which is the last legal resort to stop the law.

The government passed an emergency ordinance early Wednesday to decriminalize cases of official misconduct in which damages are less than 200,000 lei ($47,800).

Huge protests erupted in the capital and spread to cities around Romania in the past two evenings. Demonstrators say the measure will help government allies and other officials facing corruption charges and will encourage public officials to steal on the job.

About one-third of corruption prosecutions focus on abuse in office charges.