Public protest softened with word that the government, despite publicly denying it would be intimidated by a weekend of public demonstrations, has begun power-sharing talks with the opposition.

Six opposition parties, led by the liberal leader Radu Cimpeanu, have demanded a role in the government that took over one year earlier from Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.The government of the National Salvation Front won more than 65 percent of the vote last May in Romania's first free elections in more than 40 years, but it has been sharply criticized since then as being dominated by former Communists.