Protest Calls for Resignation of Bulgaria's Culture MinisterSociety | July 8, 2016, Friday // 10:25| views
Bulgaria's Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov at a press conference on July 07, 2016. Photo: BGNES
Demonstrators on Thursday called on Bulgaria's Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov to step down after the dismissal of a long-serving National Art Gallery employee.
Vladimir Rumenov has been out of his job since July 01, the day after taking part in a discussion on cultural heritage legislation.
The program itself sparked outrage from Minister Rashidov, who issued a controversial and strong-worded statement directed to Rumenov and the other guests, but also to the host, Georgi Angelov, whom he warned against "deriding the state all the time" as it is the state where his salary comes from.
On Thursday, as the protest was ongoing, Rashidov held a press conference, denying any involvement in the dismissal of Rumenov, calling on the gallery director to bring him back to work. He also apologized to the guests and the TV host Angelov for his "emotional" reaction to a "wonderful" program.
Officially, Rumenov (who had worked at the gallery for 38 years) had to leave his job due to a new requirement obliging people at his and similar positions to have a university degree. However, the fact that some of his co-workers kept their jobs without having a degree pushed protesters to believe there was a link between his position and the dismissal.
News website Dnevnik.bg revealed that curator Mariya Vasileva, had also been asked to leave after attending a similar discussion on a BNT show in April.