Vigils Mark Forty Days since Bulgaria’s Jan Palach DeathSociety | April 11, 2013, Thursday // 12:35| views
Plamen Goranov, 36-year-old artist, climber and environmentalist, set himself on fire in the center of Bulgaria's sea capital Varna, scene of the biggest rallies of anti-government protesters. File photo
Bulgarians across the country will hold vigils Thursday night in honor of the young man who fatally set himself on fire in Varna in February to protest against the links between the city council and the mafia.
The vigils, scheduled for 6 pm in the capital Sofia and the coastal cities of Varna and Burgas, will mark forty days since Plamen Goranov’s death in accordance with Christian Orthodox traditions.
When the 36-year-old artist, climber and environmentalist, set himself on fire in the center of Bulgaria's sea capital Varna, scene of the biggest rallies of anti-government protesters in recent months, Bulgaria was jolted like never before.
The days before his dramatic act Plamen was a regular demonstrator at the mass protests, sparked by excessive utility bills, but later morphing into political protests, forcing Varna mayor to resign.
The rallies were especially strong in the coastal Varna, where the local government is believed to be fully controlled by the local organized-crime-group-turned-business-corporation, known as TIM.
"Down with TIM!," Plamen Goranov chanted as he addressed one of the rallies, the 30 000-strong pulsating crowd taking up his call.
While struggling with severe burns that had left healthy skin only on his feet the young man became known as Bulgaria's Jan Palach, the Prague student, whose death in flames sparked the hope of a whole nation back in 1969.
Just like Jan Palach, Plamen did not live to see his dream come true – he died in hospital from severe burns and organ failure on March 3, just two days before Varna controversial mayor Kiril Yordanov quit under the immense public pressure.
His painful death and political gesture fueled talk of the "Bulgarian spring", like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt where hundreds of people sacrificed their lives to overthrow the hated policies.
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