Bulgarian Students Cancel Rally over Fears of Provocations

Domestic | November 16, 2013, Saturday // 10:16|  views

The heavy iron fences guarding the Bulgarian Parliament from antigovernment protesters were quickly decorated by outraged citizens, photo Facebook

The protesting "Early Risers" Bulgarian university students announced they will not stage their antigovernment rally on Saturday over the counter event organized by the Socialists.

"On Saturday, November 16, something called counter-protest will be held – not of people gathered on their own will, but people rounded up from small towns, loaded on buses, and taken to Sofia to demonstrate a so-called support for the crumbling government, and this is the old and tried practice of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP," the students say on their Facebook page.

They note that the football derby between top Sofia teams Levski and CSKA will be held on the same day and at the same time and place as the Socialists' rally and their fan clubs seemingly have own plans for civil activities.

"For us, the safety of our colleagues is top priority, and we do not want to give the police new reasons to violate the laws that they must enforce, so the decision of the General Assembly of the "Occupation" is to stay inside the blockaded Sofia University building and refrain from participating in actions that could lead to provocations," the students further write.

The occupation of the main building of Sofia University is remaining in place. Friday marked the 155th day of protests in Bulgaria.

University students are demanding the resignation of the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski.

The first of the protests began when students at the elite Sofia University occupied Lecture Hall 272, the largest teaching room in the St. Kliment Ohridski building on 23 October.

They have been blockading the building since then, bringing classes to a halt, but decided to move the blockade to the Parliament on Tuesday.

Protesters against the Oresharski cabinet first walked out, June 14, after the appointment of controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski for head of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security.

Peevski's reinstatement as MP after his resignation from the Security Agency provoked a student occupation at Sofia University, which culminated in Sunday's "March of Justice."

Protesters have claimed that the Oresharski cabinet, backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms exemplifies in an acute form the deep influence of the so-called Bulgarian oligarchy on politics.

Meanwhile, the two major political parties announced plans to stage huge partisan rallies over the weekend.

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