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.