Tensions at Occupied Sofia University Escalate

Society | January 27, 2014, Monday // 13:24|  views

The Sofia University gates have remain chained by a group of students in sign of antigovernment protest, photo BGNES.

Lecturers from Sofia University, who in general support students' antigovernment protests, urged those who are not enrolled there to vacate the premises.

Friday into Saturday students and citizens launched a second occupation of the main building of Sofia University, Bulgaria's oldest and most-prestigious school, after an October-November occupation staged by students.

Both protest actions called for resignation of the Socialist-endorsed government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, the dissolution of Parliament and new elections, as well as for new morality in Bulgarian politics.

On Monday, the lecturers issued a declaration stating they support students' protest, but stand firm behind the principle of academic autonomy and oppose the opportunistic profiteering of this principle by outside forces that have nothing to do with the University.

"We urge all citizens who are not students, teachers, or administrators associated with the University to immediately leave the building," the declaration reads.

The lecturers, however, insist to not allow police to enter the campus, and call on renewing dialogue regarding the form of protest.

Sofia University President, prof. Ivan Ilchev was authorized to take legal action to dissolve the ongoing occupation of the university's main building. On Sunday he referred the case to the prosecution, due to the illegal occupation of public state property.

Also on Sunday the Sofia University student union came out with a position denouncing the occupation, said it is not representative of the views of the school's students.

Meanwhile, tensions are escalating as Sofia University students and lecturers are still unable to enter the occupied main University building.

The University gates have been chained by a group of students. All classes and scheduled exams have been suspended.

Opposing crowds have gathered on the street near the chained back entrance of the building. There is shouting, pushing and shoving, the public radio BNR reported.

Police are trying to separate the two groups.

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Tags: Sofia University, resignation, students, Ivan Ilchev, police, occupation, Plamen Oresharski, lecturers, academic autonomy


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