On the night of January 31, 2017 the four-week-old government of Social Democratic Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu issued a decree that decriminalized corrupt activities valued at less than 200,000 lei, or £40,000. Implementation of Executive Ordinance No 13 would have resulted in many key political figures being released from prison or having charges dropped. Reaction on the street was immediate. An estimated 600,000 Romanians joined protests to oppose the measure until the government was forced to repeal it on February 13.
This did not end the protests. At the time of writing, they have spread to 81 cities in 36 countries, reflecting the expansion of the diaspora since Romania joined the European Union in 2007.