Third Night of Bulgaria Police Protest Goes Peacefully
Hundreds of police officers demonstrated on Thursday for a third night in a row against planned cuts of social benefits at Bulgaria's Interior Ministry.
This comes despite concessions announced by the government which eventually agreed not to cut in half the maximum amount of the one-off compensation paid upon retirement. However, the cabinet is determined to reduce the number of days officers have for paid leave to 20, down from 30. It is also bent on abolishing the principle of a 2% annual increase in remuneration.
In the capital Sofia's downtown area, the protest was coordinated with Sofia Municipality, unlike the previous two nights (on Wednesday, a demo was allowed by authorities only for a small bus station in a Sofia neighborhood).
A "flashmob" was organized between the junction in front of the Sofia University
and the landmark Orlov Most ("Eagles' Bridge"), with some 500 people taking part, Focus News Agency reports.
Trade unions had announced protest action in the capital would be held between 18:30 and 20:00 EET.
Demonstrations were also held across the country, in the towns of Pleven and Veliko Tarnovo (Northern Bulgaria) and Pazardzhik (Southern Bulgaria). Elsewhere, police officers blocked major thoroughfares into and out of towns and cities in protest.
A nationwide demonstration is now scheduled for November 08, Sunday.
Bulgaria's Interior Ministry is also the country's biggest employer, with its total staff (police, but also other departments) amounting to 53 000.
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