Bulgaria's Interior Accuses Protesters of Spurring Police Brutality
Aggression on part of the demonstrators led to "an intervention by the law enforcers", Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said in a statement Sunday afternoon, amidst reports of police brutality during anti-power utility rallies in Sofia.
Bulgarian riot police have beaten peaceful protesters in downtown Sofia trying to reach the building of local power utility CEZ, demonstrators claim.
As about 4000 of the some 12 000 who rallied in Sofia against the excesses of Bulgaria's three power utilities – CEZ, EVN, and Energo-Pro – tried to protest before the building of CEZ on the Rakovski Str. but were stopped and some were beaten by the police, angry protesters claimed, speaking on Kanal 3 TV.
According to their claims, the police beat severely a young man and an elderly woman, claiming that the woman had a gas pistol.
The protesters claim the explanations of the police are ridiculous, and have complained of outright police brutality, accusing the police of beating the people to protect the monopolies.
The police, however, claim that the violence started because of the demonstrators.
"On the spot many of the protesters started to break the asphalt and to toss it at the police officers, and tried to overturn special police vehicles, and to user tear sprays against the policemen," the Interior Ministry press service claimed.
"This has led the officers to take the respective actions in order to prevent further vandalism," it added.
Large-scale protests were held in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, and Veliko Tarnovo. Clashes are reported to have erupted only in Sofia.
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