Government-Trampled Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Holds Silent ProtestEducation | November 16, 2010, Tuesday // 20:23| views
BAS held a silent vigil Tuesday, but vowed to continue protests should the government fail to take up seriously their demands for fair treatment. Photo by BGNES.
Researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences held a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening in front of Parliament in protest against cuts in state funding for research and renewed proposals for its splitting.
Some 1500 researchers stood with candles in front of the National Assembly as Tuesday plenary was ending and requested an adequate commitment on the part of the state to science and research.
They also held banners denouncing Minister of Education Sergei Ignatov and in particular Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, who has confessed of holding little love for Bulgaria's top research institution, and whom scientists see as the mastermind behind plans to dismantle it.
Monday both PM Borisov and speaker of Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva had announced a proposal to split the Academy into separate institutes without autonomy and attached to the central government or universities.
If effected, that would mean the end of BAS as an entity.
Monday the General Assembly of BAS came out with an acrimonious statement deploring what it sees as "the systematic policy aimed at the destruction of the Academy," calling for a competent management of science, which it regards as being of "strategic significance for society." The position states that neglect for research means neglect of chances for swift recovery from the economic crisis and isolation from the priorities of the European Union itself.
In May a similar proposal to split the Academy into non-autonomous institutes had been scrapped by PM Borisov after massive protests.
Monday the BAS General Assembly vowed to continue its fight for the opportunity of dignified work and place in society.
Speaking to Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), BAS Chief Research Secretary Prof. Stefan Hadjitodorov has stated that Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov is the mastermind behind the actions to dismantle the Academy in a bid to sell its attractive assets.
Tuesday, BAS President Nikola Sabotinov announced that protests will go on.
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