Protesting Students Occupy Sofia University Lecture Hall
Protesting Bulgarian college students have occupied Wednesday the largest lecture hall of the country's oldest and most prestigious University - Sofia University "St Kliment Ohridski."
The blockade caused the cancellation of the lecture of the Constitutional Court Chairman Prof. Dimitar Tokushev. Witnesses say he nearly fled the scene.
The protesting young people, about 50-60, from all departments of the University, not just the Law School, have demanded Tokushev's resignation over the decision of the Constitutional Court in the case known as "Peevski."
The Constitutional Court stirred controversy earlier in October when it reinstated shady media mogul Delyan Peevski as lawmaker. The move triggered new clashes between police and demonstrators in Sofia. Peevski's appointment as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) on June 14 unleashed a series of protests which were not appeased by the prompt cancellation of the Parliament's decision. Although the scandalous appointment was cancelled, the protesters demanded the resignation of the government over a number of other controversial appointments and suspected ties with oligarchs.
A large white sheet stating "Occupation," written in red letters, is streched at the entrance of the lecture hall . Rumen Stoev, a fifth year law student and a protester, is quoted in saying:
"This is what we want – first, the President of the Constitutional Court Prof. Dimitar Tokushev, who this morning was supposed to have a lecture right here, to assume public moral responsibility for the judgment of the Constitutional Court, which allowed Peevski to remain in the National Assembly; second - Delian Peevski to resign as a Member of the Parliament, and third - the government to finally publicly and clearly answer who proposed him as a director of the DANS."
The organizers hope to attract many more students. The say their initiative is a normal practice of democratic expression of civil position.
The plan is for the students to keep the blockade until to Friday. Similar campaigns are being prepared in other university buildings and other colleges.
The students have organized themselves through personal messages on social networks, in order to not compromise the action.
They also want the resignation of the government, saying "the time has come to prove that Bulgaria belongs to the young, the knowledgeable and the capable, not to tugs."
Students from different schools in Sofia and different departments of the Sofia University are preparing a joint statement.
Action "Occupation" has its own rules banning political propaganda, violence, and alcohol. Participants are also working on a program to invite lecturers to discuss the issue with the government. Movies will be shown as well.
They have notified the University President and the Dean the Law School, which has canceled all classes at least for Wednesday.
The first one to visit them and to voice support for them was Georgi Bliznashki, Professor in Constitutional Law.
"You are writing now an new golden page in the history of this school. When an individual gets it wrong, this is human error, when a Constitutional Court does it, we have a problem," said he.
Georgi Bliznashki became a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1977, and entered politics in 1990 as left-wing politician from the successor of the Communist party – the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP. In 2007, he was involved in a deep conflict with BSP leader and at the time Prime Minister, Sergey Stanishev, and then Finance Minister and now PM, Plamen Oresharski, over them introducing th flat tax, which Bliznashki sees as only and fully benefiting oligarchic circles in Bulgaria.
Since then he has been a very strong and open critic of BSP functionaries.
Some students, however, have shown discontent over the cancellation of their lecture with Prof Tokushev. They are quoted in saying that protests belong to the street.
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