More than 7,000 Romanians have gathered in the capital and other cities to protest government plans for legislation that critics say will weaken efforts to root out corruption.

Demonstrators gathered outside the government headquarters in Bucharest on Sunday while yelling "Democracy is under siege" and blowing plastic vuvuzelas.

Participants could be heard calling the ruling Social Democratic Party "the red plague."

Protests were also held in at least eight cities around Romania and abroad.

Magistrates, foreign ambassadors and the European Union all have opposed the proposed legislation, which would allow a person with a criminal conviction to be elected president.

The bill also would give Romania's justice minister the job of naming the country's top prosecutors, currently a main function of the presidency.