TOPSHOT - A man holds a Romanian national flag during a demonstration to protest against controversial decrees to pardon corrupt politicians and decriminalise other offences, on January 29, 2017 in Bucharest. Around 40,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Bucharest and other Romanian towns on January 29, 2017. / AFP / ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI (Photo credit should read ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Romanians poured into the streets of major cities to protest the government’s surprise decision to quash corruption investigations into officials and seek the annulment of convictions for other offenders.
Demonstrations late Tuesday in Bucharest, where temperatures fell to -7 Celsius (19.4 Fahrenheit), drew 12,000 people demanding the government steps down, while at least 8,000 gathered elsewhere in the eastern European nation. The cabinet earlier backed proposals that had sparked the biggest protests since the fall of communism. Parliament must approve a bill on the pardons, while criminal-code changes have already been published in the official journal.
“This damages the judiciary and breaches its independence,” President Klaus Iohannis said Wednesday, vowing to challenge the steps at the Superior Council of Magistrates, which oversees the courts. “The only option I won’t accept is do nothing about it. We must make a stand at an institutional level.”
The Social Democratic-led government that took over the …