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Romania fires foreign minister who insulted protesters

Attila Kisbenedek / AFP - Getty Images

Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi was fired on Monday.

BUCHAREST, Romania - Romania's prime minister on Monday fired the foreign minister over insulting remarks he made about anti-government protesters.

Emil Boc said in a speech that Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi was fired for making inappropriate remarks about protesters, who have taken to the streets for the past 10 days to demonstrate against austerity measures and call for the resignation of President Traian Basescu and the government.

Last week, as anti-government protests raged in Romania, Baconschi wrote on his blog that Romanians who work for a living will decide the country's future, not the "violent and clueless slums." Baconschi's comments caused outrage.

Boc apologized to protesters during an extraordinary two-day Parliament session called by opposition parties following the protests.

"I present apologies from the parliamentary tribune to the Romanian public for these verbal errors," he said.

Daniel Mihailescu / AFP - Getty Images

A woman holds a sign reading "QUIT!" -- referring to Romanian President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Emil Boc -- during a protest in Bucharest on Sunday.

Some protesters gathered in Bucharest's University Square said the dismissal did not satisfy them. The opposition also said the firing of Baconschi did not go far enough, and lawmakers called for early elections, saying Basescu, parliament and the government are no longer wanted by the people.

"Romania needs radical solutions — early presidential and early general elections to be held as soon as possible," said Crin Antonescu who leads the opposition Liberal Party. "We believe most Romanians are discontented and reject their political leaders."

Baconschi was appointed foreign minister in Dec. 2009, and before that he was Romania's ambassador to the Vatican and to Paris.

He is currently in Brussels for a European Union meeting of foreign ministers. According to the Mediafax news agency, Baconschi said he had received a text message from the prime minister telling him that he was fired.

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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.