Bulgaria Faces Nationwide Protests

Society | February 24, 2013, Sunday // 10:38|  views

Bulgarians have been staging for 2 weeks large-scale protests across the country against high utility bills and the model of ruling the country, leading to clashes with riot police with many injuries and vandalism. Photo by BGNES

A nationwide protest against the political model, unbearable utility bills and poverty is taking place in Bulgaria Sunday under the motto "Let's Set the Monopolies on Fire."

Rallies are expected in the capital Sofia and many of the largest cities such as Plovdiv, Varna, Pazardzhik, and Blagoevgrad among others. The starting time is 11 am.

In Sofia the demonstrators are gathering at two spots – in front of the building of the Ministry of Economy and Energy and on Eagles' Bridge intersection. The two groups are to meet in front of the Parliament.

President, Rosen Plevneliev, said Friday he was going to honor the organizers' invitation to attend the rally.

There, the organizers will present the demands of the demonstrators, which were debated Saturday in the central city of Sliven and in Sofia.

Despite strong disagreements among different groups of disgruntled people, some the demands that emerged are: not adjourning the Parliament; the President appointing a program government instead of a caretaker one; drafting a Civil Participation Bill providing a 50% civil quota in all institutions; returning 51% of the shares of power utilities to the State; closing the Bulgarian Energy Holding, BEH, for draining the energy sector, summoning a Grand General Assembly, establishing a procedure to recall Members of the Parliament.

Bulgarians abroad will also stage protest rallies. They will be held in Vienna, Munich, Dublin, London, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Athens, Berlin, and Madrid.

There will be a parallel rally in Sofia organized by the nationalist VMRO party under the motto "Let's Revolt against High Utility Bills." It starts at 12 pm from the park of the National Palace of Culture. The procession will end on the square between the buildings of the Government and the Presidential Office.

The Sofia police have issued an official statement asking all demonstrators to refrain from violence. Citizens are also reminded to use the emergency 112 hotline to alert about people instigating escalation of tensions and exhibiting aggressive behavior.

On Sunday, the press office of the opposition, left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, issued a warning they have received numerous alerts and tipoffs about mass purchases of knuckles, bats, and explosives, and about mobilization of different martial arts clubs for today's protest.

Plevneliev has been notified.

The Socialists join calls to citizens to refrain from aggressive behavior.

Protest rallies of Bulgarians against high utility bills have been held for two weeks now, with political parties attempting to benefit from them. The protests led to the resignation of the government as well.

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Tags: consensus, protests, protest, rallies, demonstrators, utility bills, demands, constitution, political parties, NGO, Free Choice Association, organizers, sofia, Sliven, VMRO, violence, police, Eagles' Bridge, constitution, Great General Assembly, rallies, protests, GERB, protests, prices, utility bills, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, resignation, power utilities, BEH


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