Bulgaria's Interior Minister: Protesters Were Preparing Raid on Parliament on July 23

Domestic | July 26, 2013, Friday // 21:01|  views

Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev, photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev has said that the authorities received explicit tip-offs about preparations for an attack against Parliament on July 23, the night of clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police, when some 109 MPs and journalists remained trapped inside the Parliament building for over 8 hours.

On July 23, the 40th day of anti-government rallies in Bulgaria, a crowd of protesters organized a blockade of Parliament, making it impossible for 109 lawmakers, current and former ministers and journalists, to leave the building.

Police tried to get the officials out by bus, but the demonstrators blocked the vehicle, throwing stones at it and breaking a number of windows.

The politicians were safely escorted out of the building at 3:30 am on July 24.

Speaking Friday after a sitting of the National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Yovchev, explained that the signals had caused the police to resort to daylight evacuations of MPs.

He did not specify the type of attack which had allegedly been prepared, refusing to comment on the hypothesis of arson.

"We started a little bit later because it was quite difficult to organize the process of taking the MPs out of the building. This was probably one of the reasons why the first evacuation plan failed," he commented, adding that a number of MPs had initially objected to the attempts to get them into the bus, which had slowed down the evacuation process.

He made clear that the MPs had not been informed about the tip-offs in order to prevent any escalation of tension.

Yovchev pointed out that the authorities were processing camera footage in order to identify and press charges against instigators.

"It is plain to see that there were people who were deliberately striving to find instruments to attack, to obstruct the free movement of MPs and to assault them and raid Parliament," the Interior Minister commented, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA).

He insisted that there had been some coordination among a group of people outside Parliament so as to stir up tension and incite violence.

"The protesters were receiving information about what was happening and what was being planned all the time," he stressed, adding that he could not specify who had leaked the information because there had been a lot of people inside the Parliament building.

Yovchev suggested that the police had received tip-offs about preparations to obstruct the trip of BSP members to the meeting at Mount Buzludzha, assuring that all necessary steps would be taken to guarantee the people's right to free movement.

Friday, July 26th is the 43rd day of anti-government demonstrations.

Public discontent spiked in response to the appointment of notorious media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS), but the protesters were not appeased by the subsequent cancellation of the decision and went on to demand the resignation of the socialist-led cabinet of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski over ties with oligarchs, as well as Election Code amendments aimed at guaranteeing greater civic participation in government.

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Tags: Tsvetlin Yovchev, Interior Minister, Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Bulgarian government, Bulgarian Parliament, protests, Election Code, State Agency for National Security, DANS, Delyan Peevski, GERB, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, Plamen Oresharski


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