Day 49 of Bulgaria's Anti-Govt Protests Started in Sofia

Domestic | August 1, 2013, Thursday // 09:54|  views

Six people on bikes, waving the national flag and shouting resignation, joined the coffee-drinking anti-government rally in Sofia Thursday morning. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarians started their protests Thursday by staging once again the now-traditional coffee-drinking anti-government rally in front of the Parliament building in downtown Sofia.

Around 30 people have gathered, but more and more are joining in, some holding the Bulgarian national flag. They booed the Members of the Parliament, who arrived for one of their last workdays before the summer break, to vote on the revision of State budget 2013.

"Tsar Liberator" boulevard is open for traffic for the time being.

Banners are mounted near the Tsar Liberator monument on the square in front of the building of the Parliament reading "We Are to Stay until You Resign," and "Love Is the Truth ДАНСwithme," among others.

Huge riot police presence is reported in the vicinity.

Six people on bikes, waving the national flag and shouting resignation, passed through the square and continued in the direction of the Sofia University.

For the third time in a row demonstrators have also gathered Thursday morning near the headquarters of the opposition center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB. The rally is organized by the civic union "Sila" (Strength) which is mainly known as the engine of the rallies against high fuel prices two years ago.

About 30-50 people are there as well. They say that because GERB are the only real opposition they want them to do a better job in the Parliament, but have repeatedly stressed they are against all parliamentary represented parties and against GERB being in power again.

The morning protest is to merge with the traditional evening rally, the 49th in a row, starting in front of the Council of Ministers building.

Such rally, the 48th, was held Wednesday evening.

The rally was once again peaceful and no incidents have been reported.

The only violent clashes with riot police occurred on the night of July 23 when lawmakers and ministers, working late on the budget revision, were blockaded by protesters inside the Parliament for 8 hours.

Keeping that in mind Wednesday evening, the Members of the Parliament hastily adjourned the sitting on the budget update as protesting Bulgarians demanding the resignation of the Cabinet began streaming to the square in front of the building of the Parliament.

The Wednesday protest traditionally started on Independence square in front of the Council of Ministers building. The gathering hour has been moved recently from 6:30 pm to 8 pm over the scorching heat.

According to the official data of the Interior Ministry, 1 000 have attended, but protesters estimate the number at 7 000. Many have brought once again their families, children, and dogs. A number of them were waiving the national and EU flags and holding various anti-government banners. People were blowing whistles, hissing, and shouting "resignation."

Independence square and "Dondukov" and "Tsar Liberator" boulevards were closed for traffic.

The rally took its traditional route and moved in the direction of the Parliament and later to Eagles' Bridge.

As usual, there was very large riot police presence.

The series of the record-breaking relentless anti-government protests in Bulgaria was triggered by the scandalous appointment of a murky politician and businessman to lead the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

Although the appointment was revoked, the people went on to demand that the Socialist-endorsed Cabinet of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, resign collectively over ties with oligarchs.

Protesters are also calling for Election Code amendments which will guarantee greater representation of the people in Parliament.

The government, however, is firm it will stay put as it has important tasks to accomplish.

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Tags: DANS, State Agency for National Security, Socialist, Plamen Oresharski, Bulgarian government, protests, parliament, rally, anti-government, coffee-drinking, sofia, GERB, Boyko Borisov, bathing suits, beach, revolution, towels, Evsinograd, summer residence, Reformist Block


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