Govt, Business-Supported 'Protesters' Block Bulgaria-Greece Road

Society | June 17, 2012, Sunday // 13:28|  views

Ralliers from Bansko and Dobrinishte on their way to the E-79 international road. Photo by BGNES

Protesters against the presidential veto on Bulgaria's new Forestry Act have blocked the E-79 road to Greece near the town of Simitli little after 1 pm Sunday.

Hundreds of citizens of the Blagoevgrad towns of Simitli, Bansko, Razlog and Dobrinishte have assembled on E-79.

They protest against the veto on the law, which they say would greatly boost opportunities for tourism and business in their region.

The new Forestry Act itself prompted large-scale road blocks in Bulgarian capital Sofia by angry citizens, which felt the new law is excessively liberal and opens Bulgarian nature to exploitation by corporate interests.

This prompted President Rosen Plevneliev to impose a veto on the law and return it for reconsideration in Parliament Saturday.

In Sofia Thursday, 2,000 protesters had to clash with riot police units to occupy the central Eagles Bridge intersection.

Near Simitli Sunday, the couple of hundred local residents blocked with ease the E-79 international road.

Saturday, Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov had instigated municipalities to protest the veto, alleging that the law is intended to benefit remote areas and create better tourism and business oportunities.

The amendments to Bulgaria's Forestry Act were actually forced through Parliament in early 2012 under pressure by notorious businessman Tseko Minev, who holds a large stake in Bulgaria's ski business.

Sunday's blockade of the road to Greece is organized by the coalition "Nature for People and Regions," known to be sponsored by Minev.

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Tags: Forestry Act, Rosen Plevneliev, Miroslav Naydenov, Eagles Bridge, blockade, block, riot police, greece, e-79, protest, Blagoevgrad, Dobrinishte, Razlog, Bansko, Simitli, sofia, tseko minev

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