Romanian president gives up police protection after 6000 officers protest wage cuts

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's president has withdrawn police protection in response to an "illegal" protest by 6,000 officers facing wage cuts.

Traian Basescu accused officers on Sunday of staging an illegal march outside his office on Friday, which he said undermined the state's authority.

Basescu asked the interior ministry to withdraw his police protection shortly after the Friday protest. Basescu retains his own separate security outfit.

The officers were protesting plans to cut their wages by 25 percent, part of government's austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit.

Prime Minister Emil Boc also asked Sunday for his police protection to be withdrawn. After arriving from a trip to New York, Boc traveled to his residence without police escort.

There has been no reaction from police chiefs, but Interior Minister Vasile Blaga said the organizers of the protest would face legal consequences.