Prime Minister Borisov's 'Environmental' Birthday Gift
It was raining gifts and niceties for Prime Minister Borisov on Wednesday, as he celebrated his 53rd birthday.
Although the prevailing trend over the day was good things going towards Borisov, there was one good thing going in the other direction – by pushing through a set of unabashedly lobbyists amendments, Borisov's center-right ruling party made Bulgarian youths go out on the street and stand up for their rights.
Late on Wednesday, Sofia's Orlov Most junction remained blocked for about an hour and a half due to a rally against amendments to the Forestry Act facilitating the construction of ski runs and facilities in protected areas.
The protest was on very short notice via social networks.
The clash between some 1000 environmentalists and an increased police presence ordered to clean up the street led to 12 detainees.
Two good things about the event: first of all, it taught Borisov that non-congratulations do eventually find their way into public space, at times very pronouncedly so.
Secondly, it came to prove that Bulgarians are breaking up with traditions of silent submissiveness.
Mid-January's mass protests against shale gas exploration and production led to a ban on the deployment of the hydraulic fracturing technology and the emotion-laden footage torpedoed Bulgaria across world news agencies.
The same will hopefully happen with Wednesday's rally.
The vocal opposition to the notorious shale gas exploration method and to construction in protected areas signals that the so-called civil society is on the making – one pillar is already there: environment.
In this line of thought – Happy birthday, Mr. Prime Minister! and Happy birthday, newborn Bulgarian civic consciousness!