10 Injured as Police Crack Down on Bulgaria Anti-Govt Protesters
Riot police cracked down on Bulgarian anti-government protesters in the capital Sofia late on Tuesday, as government officials, MPs and journalists remained trapped in the Parliament building for some ten hours.
Tuesday marked the 40th straight day of mass protests against the country’s embattled government – and for the first time, police clashed with demonstrators.
Tensions rose as lawmakers discussed a controversial budget update that envisages increasing the deficit by around BGN 500 M and increasing the borrowing limit by BGN 1 B. The budget revision was discussed at an ad hoc sitting starting 5 pm EET – and the unusually late hour allowed the evening rally to block the doors of a Parliament building full of officials.
Thousands of people chanted "mafia" and "resign", refusing to let three ministers and a number of lawmakers leave the building. Many journalists also remained trapped inside.
The rally turned bloody at around 10 pm, when a bus carrying the ministers of finance, labor and economy, as well as an undisclosed number of ruling MPs, attempted to leave Parliament under heavy guard.
Protesters forced the bus to retreat, and several of them were beaten and injured by riot police.
By 2 am Wednesday, protesters had reinforced the blockade with garbage cans, street signs and paving stones, blocking vehicles from leaving any of the exits from Parliament.
Officials eventually left the building at around 5 am Wednesday, according to local media.
Some 10 people were injured, the Bulgarian National Radio says. No serious injuries have been reported.
The series of rallies was triggered by the appointment of notorious media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) back on June 14, but the protesters were not appeased by the subsequent cancellation of the decision and went on to demand the resignation of the Socialist-led cabinet over ties with oligarchs.
The protests were fueled by a number of other controversial appointments over the past several weeks, including that of ultranationalist party leader Volen Siderov as chair of the Parliament’s committee on ethics and conflict of interests.
Last week, Emil Ivanov, a man linked to one of the most notorious organized crime groups from the 90s, was appointed as Regional Governor of Sofia.
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you call "Die Linke" a "progressive Left"?
"Die Linke" is a bunch of old commies with GDR nostalghia and a few young pseudo-left who think that imitating the haircut of Rosa Luxemburg is a sign of "progressiveness". The people who vote for them are usually frustrated old people above the age of 65. In a few years they will have disappeared due to "natural" reasons. Honestly, these people have nothing to offer than "it was much better in the old days" - and that's what you call "a progressive Left"?
Also what you write about Sofia being a bastion of neoliberalism is just rubbish. Have you ever been to Sofia? Nah, I don't think so. My neighbourhood is full of old communists, and almost all of them hate Stanishev and the new government, a lot of them even participate in the rallies.
Trade Unions in Bulgaria? Don't make yourself the laughing stock of the forum. We all that the "Trade Unions" in Bulgaria are not worth their name.
You sound very much like someone who has never been anywhere except for a library where he misunderstood the wrong books he read.
A progressive left in Bulgaria would be clearly to the left of the BSP (and PES) on virtually all issues. It would be closer to the politics of Die Linke in Germany or some of the other parties associated under european-left.org. It does not exist in the public arena here, aside from balgarska levica, which has almost no base.
This government have shown they truly represent the "PROGRESSIVE LEFT" (surely an oxymoron??) and also the poorest of the poor. Media Moguls in charge of national security, convicted criminals (in a country where even the tiniest element of doubt, coupled with a bit of cash and some political persuasion can overturn any judges decision) elected to vital ministerial positions. This is what the country needs of course! If the EDUCATED middle classes, who actually take an interest in day-to-day politics and are informed enough to see what these ex-commie thieves are doing are not allowed to represent the people, then Bulgaria truly is screwed. Might as well give North Korea a call and get some tips on information blackouts, propaganda, and rewriting all of modern history to suit the rulers.
How much were you paid to trot out this ridiculous claptrap, FFS? I have no doubt that you wear your Червени боклуц t-shirt with real pride at having found your spiritual and intellectual home.....
Maybe your political aspirations include the founding of a BG chapter of the Monster Raving-Loony Party?
No government anywhere would tolerate BLOCKADES OF ITS PARLIAMENT by a relatively small group of citizens in the capital, whatever their motives. This is not any 'voice of the people.'
Nowhere in Europe is there NO PROGRESSIVE LEFT on the streets in popular protest against an elected government, except Bulgaria.
Nowwhere in Europe and elsewhere are protests against poverty and corruption WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL TRADE UNION SUPPORT, except in Bulgaria.
Nowhere in Europe are the POOREST OF THE POOR -- here the Roma -- not represented on the streets in popular protest, except Bulgaria. The contrast with Greece, with Portugal, with Spain is extraordinary.
Foreign observers perhaps do not realize that Sofia is a bastion of rightwing neoliberal politics, from its mayor on down. The PARTISAN POLITICAL DIMENSION of a constant call for 'resignation' and new elections is largely coming from the ranks of GERB supporters and supporters of other small parties, some on the right, which did not garner enough votes to enter the present parliament. And from people who didn't vote in May. It is openly anti-socialist and anti-ДПС.
Many of the protesters are 'children of the transition,' aged 25 and younger. But it is extraordinary that they are not questioning the neoliberal system imposed from the EU that has led youth to such hopelessness.
This is the tragedy of 'depoliticized politics.'
Where is LEFT ANALYSIS of the Bulgarian morass along the lines of Antarsya in Greece, for example, or Syriza? Basically nowhere expect with the tiny virtually invisible Balgarska Levitca, take a look levicata.org
Unless the election code is significantly modified, including lowering the THRESHOLD/BARRIER to 3 or even 2 percent (as in Israel), new parties will not benefit from a new snap poll. Everyone knows this. GERB supporters in Sofia and Plovidv are speculating for a better showing.
There can be no new elections until those changes are passed by a parliament. If the Bugarian civil sphere is 'awakening,' why are its eyes closed?