Tens of thousands of Romanians have protested against legislation passed in parliament which critics say will make it harder to prosecute crime and high-level corruption.

Demonstrators briefly scuffled with riot police as they massed in Bucharest’s University Square.

People of all ages came to vent their anger at the left-wing government, some accompanied by dogs or children.

There were smaller protests in the cities of Cluj, Timisoara, Constanta, Bacau, Sibiu and Iasi. Protesters began arriving earlier in the capital by train from other Romanian cities and were greeted by people waving Romanian flags.

Last year, Romania saw the biggest protests since communism ended after the left-wing government tried to decriminalise official misconduct.

Parliament last month approved amendments to laws that many say will lead to a backsliding on its anti-corruption fight.

Prime minister-designate Viorica Dancila supports revamping the judicial system. She is an ally of Liviu Dragnea, chairman of the Social Democracy Party, who cannot be premier due to a conviction for vote-rigging.

President Klaus Iohannis, a critic of the amendments, needs to sign them into law. On Friday, he wrote to the Constitutional Court saying one amendment that would allow public officials to own businesses “diminished the standards of integrity” expected from public officials.