Bulgaria Enters 2nd Week of Protests, PES Blockade Looms

Domestic | June 21, 2013, Friday // 18:58|  views

A protester in Sofia carries a poster, reading “You are not yourself when you are greedy”. Public outrage at the appointment of a media magnate to a top security post has boiled over into protests against the new government. Photo by Dimiter Muftieff

Mass protest rallies continued in Bulgaria Friday with demands for the resignation of the government of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, elected on the mandate of the Socialist Party.

In case there is no resignation, the demonstrators threaten to blockade of the National Palace of Culture, NDK, in downtown Sofia on Saturday, and have issued already an "Occupy NDK" call for all supporters. They say the rally is non-partisan.

Thousands have signed the organizers' page on Facebook as the entire leadership of the Party of European Socialists, PES, is going to arrive in Sofia, at a time their Bulgarian leader, Sergey Stanishev, is facing mass discontent from his own country people and BSP party.

Bulgarian citizens have staged mass protest rallies for 7 days in a row, sparked by the outrageous decision of the government and the Parliament to appoint controversial media mogul and lawmaker Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) with Stanishev seen as one of the masterminds behind the plan.

A press release posted on the official site of PES informs that the party Council sitting is scheduled to be held Saturday in Sofia. It will take place in NDK.

Organizers of the protest warn they will be there in large numbers at 10 am Saturday to show PES how much Bulgarians "love" Stanishev.

The sitting is the annual gathering of parties in Europe with socialist, social-democrat, and labor orientation. Many guests and PES activists are going to attend as well.

The gathering of the women branch of PES starts Friday.

The PES Council is going to work on planning the policies of European Socialists and will launch the European left wing's preparations for the elections for European Parliament in 2014.

In addition to mass protests aiming at toppling the government, the decision to appoint Peevski to lead DANS has caused a rift in the "red" ranks in Bulgaria, with many wanting Stanishev to resign as party leader. It came from a number of BSP MPs, from former President and former BSP leader, Georgi Parvanov, and the Sofia branch of the party.

Local branches of the Socialists in several cities have also joined those asking for Stanishev's withdrawal.

He, however, survived Thursday evening a confidence vote by the BSP national council.

Demonstrators have lauded the actions of the police which have protected them, rather than resort to excessive or any force.

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Tags: GERB, Georgi Parvanov, PES, Party of European Socialists, Brussels, sofia, Sergey Stanishev, protesters, Plamen Oresharski, Delyan Peevski, State Agency for National Security, DANS, protests, Bulgarian Socialist Party, ethnic Turkish, party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, protest, rally, demonstrators, BSP, DPS, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, mass, Socialist


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