Bulgaria Govt Orchestrates Rallies to Support Controversial LawDomestic | June 17, 2012, Sunday // 11:26| views
Bulgaria's Minister of Agriculture and Foods Miroslav Naydenov. Photo by BGNES
Citizens from the Bansko, Razlog and Simitli municipalities of south-western Bulgaria are coming out to protest in support of Bulgaria's controversial and vetoed Forestry Act.
The new legislation is set to liberalize the use of Bulgaria's forests, including construction in protected areas, and provoked massive rallies that blocked the center of Bulgaria's capital Wednesday through Friday.
Although Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev returned the controversial law for second consideration in Parliament Saturday, at the same time key government ministers, such as Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov slammed the protests in news briefings.
What is more, Naydenov said that the center-right cabinet of PM Boyko Borisov stands firmly behind the legislation and suggested the government will use all levers to push it through Parliament.
The Minister of Agriculture further alleged that the new legislation is in support of small and remote municipalities, which will now have better business opportunities, expressing his surprise that local people did not protest in support of the law.
Minutes after Naydenov's press conference, Bulgaria's National Association of Municipalities came out with a statement in support of the Forestry Act.
On their turn, civic organizations from Blagoevgrad region announced that they will block the Simitli-Bansko road at 1 pm EET Sunday, and warned they would go on blocking the E-79 road to Greece to protest the veto and show their support for the law.
Environmentalists have commented that the Rila and Pirin mountains in the region do not fall within the juristiction of the Forestry Act, as most of their areas are taken up by National Parks, which are regulated by other legislation, so locals have little reasons to protest.
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