Bulgarians Gear Up for Fresh Anti-Government Protests

Domestic | June 16, 2013, Sunday // 10:46|  views

The appointment of media mogul Delyan Peevski as national security head has triggered outrage in Bulgaria. Photo by BGNES

New nationwide protest rallies are to take place in Bulgaria Sunday over the government’s decision to appoint a controversial media mogul as head of the country’s State Agency for National Security (DANS).

Bulgaria’s new government said Saturday it would reverse its appointment of media tycoon Delyan Peevski as head of state security just a day after rushing it through parliament.

However, the move failed to curb the massive peaceful protests in the country, with thousands gathering in Sofia and other major cities for a second day on Saturday.

Many protesters demanded the resignation of the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, which took over at the end of May.

Demonstrators from all ages, including families with small children, people with their pets, and groups of young people held banners, blew whistles, waved the national colors, and shouted against the mafia, Oresharski, and the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Sergey Stanishev.

A new rally is to take place in Sofia on Sunday, starting at 6 pm at Independence Square.

Parallel rallies are to be held the cities of Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Pernik, Pleven, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Blagoevgrad, Gabrovo, Dimitrovgrad, Kazanlak, Lovech, Pazardzhik, and Sandanski, among others.

A protest will also take place in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, starting 6;30 pm local time.

On Saturday, Peevski sent a letter to all media in Bulgaria to announce he was ready to withdraw as head of DANS. A new director of the powerful security agency is expected to be elected next week.

The controversial businessman’s appointment has been seen by diplomats and observers as subjecting powerful state institutions to private interests.

Peevski, 32, joined the Socialist-led “three-way coalition” government in 2005 as deputy emergency response minister but was sacked two years later and investigated over corruption allegations. The investigation was later dropped.

The businessman is believed to be behind the New Bulgarian Media Group (NBMG), a powerful empire of newspapers, newspaper distribution companies, television channels and news websites.

On Friday, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev canceled his participation in the inauguration of the second Danube Bridge linking Bulgaria and Romania after the shocking election of Peevski as head of DANS.

He criticized it strongly and urged the parliament to "immediately" retract its decision.
Speaking on public TV Friday evening, the President reiterated his outrage from the move and confirmed he has lifted his trust from the Cabinet "Oresharski."

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Tags: rallies, protest, Rosen Plevneliev, Delyan Peevski, Boyko Borisov, DANS, GERB, Plamen Oresharski, Sergey Stanishev, Bulgarian Socialist Party, ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, DPS, TV7


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