Bulgarian Opposition MPs Leave Sitting in Outrage of Police Actions

Domestic | November 12, 2013, Tuesday // 13:55|  views

Bulgarian anti-government protesters were laying on the ground earlier Tuesday to stop police vehicles amidst huge riot police presence. Photo Facebook

The Members of the Parliament from the opposition party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, have left the Tuesday sitting in outrage from reports police is acting violently towards protesters.

GERB MP and former EU Funds Minister, Tomislav Donchev, reported that he has received information about riot police beating protesting students and insisted on an official from the Interior Ministry to come to plenary hall and give explanations.

This prompted the Deputy Chair of GERB's Parliamentary group, Krasimir Velchev, to take the stand and ask for the sitting to be halted until the arrival of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski or at least one of his Deputies, instead of having police officials giving explanations.

His request was rejected with 83 votes in favor, 96 against and 1 abstaining.

GERB then announced that they were leaving the sitting, but will remain in the Parliament's building.

The Parliament is currently surrounded by hundreds of protesting students and citizens, supporting them, in demanding the resignation of Oresharski's Socialist-led government. Tensions escalated and clashes with police occurred when the demonstrators tried to form a human chain at the building's rear entrance in order to blockade lawmakers inside.

The public radio updated information about detentions, now reporting that only one person, with a criminal record, is currently under arrest.

When lawmakers returned to plenary hall, Maya Manolova, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party, announced that she inquired with the Interior Ministry and was informed that no student has been beaten, despite aggressive behavior attempts.

"There are arrests, but no police brutality. I call on all protesters to refrain from aggression and provocations towards police officers. I hope lawmakers, too, will not provoke aggression with their behavior. We follow the situation closely and, if needed, we will ask Interior officials to come in plenary hall," said Manolova.

As the sitting lost quorum after GERB's departure, the remaining MPs decided to hold debates on the Draft State budget 2014, but to postpone the vote on it for Wednesday.

Finance Minister, Petar Chobanov, and the Minister of Social Policy and Labor, Hassan Ademov, are in plenary hall for the debates.

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Tags: GERB, Tomislav Donchev, Krasimir Velchev, BSP, Maya Manolova, riot police, clashes, Plamen Oresharski, occupation, blockade, protests, Socialist-led government, Sofia University, parliament, arrested, draft, state budget, finance minister, Petar Chobanov, Minister of Social Policy and Labor, Hassan Ademov


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