BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Thousands of Romanian teachers demonstrated Wednesday to demand higher salaries, rallying outside the government's main offices in Bucharest then marching through the capital.
Dressed in yellow T-shirts and red caps, the teachers whistled and booed, and carried banners saying "Leave education to the teachers!" and "If you can read this, thank your teacher."
The government this week offered teachers a 5 percent pay rise. Trade union leader Simion Hancescu said teachers were seeking a 10 percent raise.
Currently, teachers earn a base monthly salary of between 1,100 lei ($275) and 5,000 lei ($1,250).
Adrian Nicolie, a teacher in southern Romania, complained about the working conditions.
"We can't teach on a salary of 1,100 lei a month. We can't teach when many colleagues aren't paid for commuting and we can't teach with 35 students in a classroom or even 40 in kindergartens," he said.
Teachers also marched toward the presidential Cotroceni Palace in west Bucharest. President Klaus Iohannis is himself a former physics professor.
Labor Minister Dragos Pislaru suggested the protest was politically motivated ahead of the June 5 local elections.