Protesters Continue to Demand Resignation of Bulgaria's Culture MinisterCulture | July 8, 2016, Friday // 21:13| views
Bulgarian Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov. Photo: BGNES
A new protest demanding the resignation of Bulgarian Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov has been scheduled to take place on Friday in front of the building of the culture ministry.
The protesters are calling on Rashidov to step down due to controversial dismissals of two employees in the National Art Gallery and the minister's harsh attitude to a journalist from Bulgaria's public broadcaster after all three had expressed criticism to the new legislation on cultural heritage.
Around 200 people, among whom more than 100 journalists and artists, signed an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov demanding the resignation of the minister.
The scandal erupted when Rashidov sent a letter to the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), in which he advised the host of a popular morning cultural programme, Georgi Angelov, to stop making fun of the state all the time as his salary depends on the very thing he is ridiculing.
This was interpreted as an attempt for censorship, with the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria demanding the immediate resignation of the minister. The discontent evolved into a protest on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, Rashidov apologised for his emotional reaction and assured that there had been no attempt for censorship.
The minister also denied having anything to do with the dismissals of Vladimir Rumenov and Mariya Vasileva, employees at the National Art Gallery and critics of his policies, which had occurred shortly after their appearance in programmes broadcasted by BNT.
The director of the gallery also denied the dismissals had anything to do with their participation in the television programmes.
On Friday, the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), one of the constituent parties of the junior coalition partner, the Reformist Bloc (RB), also demanded the resignation of Rashidov.