BUCHAREST, Romania — Ion Iliescu was sworn in as president today at a ceremony boycotted by the United States to protest last week's crackdown on dissent, and he declared "unacceptable" the demonstrations against his leadership.
The U.S. ambassador to Romania, Alan Green, boycotted the inauguration ceremony at the Athenaeum Concert Hall in Bucharest's Palace Squareto.
Referring to international condemnation of last week's violence in which six people were believed killed and hundreds injured, Iliescu said in his inauguration speech that the accusations against him were "unreasonable," "unfounded" and "untrue."
He called the events "a true rebellion, an organized coup d'etat that tried to discredit at home and abroad the country's political leadership lawfully and democratically elected."
"It is unacceptable to replace the democratic process with anarchy and street rule," he said.
Thousands of coal miners heeded Iliescu's call for help at the height of the protests and poured into Bucharest, where witnesses said they beat opposition demonstrators, trashed the headquarters of two political parties and destroyed the offices of an opposition newspaper.
Iliescu said he is counting on international support for Romania's efforts to break from totalitarian rule.
"We hope and count on a comprehensive opinion to be formed eventually on an objective assessment of the facts and on support from the international community for our effort to further the process of removing the effects of the totalitarian regime," Iliescu said.
Iliescu won the Romanian presidency on May 20 in the country's first free elections in more than four decades, with a landslide 85% of the vote. The National Salvation Front, which assumed power after December's revolution, dominated parliamentary elections, winning 325 of 494 seats.
As several hundred Iliescu supporters gathered outside the Athenaeum to cheer his speech, the new president stressed Romania's desire to "integrate into the new Europe without delay . . . in a new climate of collaboration with the Continent."
A key European Community official said today that Romania will be excluded from a major Western aid program for Eastern Europe because of last week's violent suppression of protest.