Thousands of Romanian teachers protest, demand better salaries and end to political influences

Thousands of teachers are marching through Bucharest to demand better wages and working conditions and an end to political interference in education.

Teachers whistled, blew horns and held banners Wednesday. Some yelled: "Solidarity!" and "Without education, any nation will die!" They called upon the Romanian government to increase spending on education.

Unions are also calling for head teachers and principals to be appointed on merit and not on political criteria.

A beginning teacher has a monthly salary of 700 lei ($217), less than half Romania's average national salary. Many teachers give private lessons to supplement their income.

The protest comes after doctors and health workers marched through Bucharest on Saturday, calling for more spending on Romania's ailing health care system.