Sofia University Lecture Hall Remains under Blockade
Bulgarian college students continue Thursday their occupation of the largest lecture hall of Sofia University with demands for the resignation of the Socialist-led government.
Students are protesting against the government of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski and the decision of the Constitutional Court to reinstate shady media mogul Delyan Peevski as lawmaker.
The atmosphere in the hall is reported as calm. Only two students spent the night there being on duty, the others are retuning in the morning.
Several dozen people wanted to stay overnight in the University, but the demonstrators have decided to comply with the recommendation of the fire office to not have large groups of people in the building after 10 pm.
The plan is for the students to keep the blockade until Friday. Their agenda for the day includes meetings with faculty and general discussions.
The protesting students occupied Wednesday lecture hall 272 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.
In a statement, the youth say they are seeking moral responsibility from Tokushev and all their teachers, and are asking "if this was the example that professors from Sofia University give to students, who are the country's future judges, lawyers, prosecutors and politicians." They want Delyan Peevski to resign as a Member of the Parliament, and urge Oresharski to declare publicly and under oath, who proposed him as a director of the DANS.
Students say they have not humiliated Tokushev by preventing him to conduct classes. They stress he must explain the boundary between politics and morality.
On Wednesday, the judge commented that the occupation was pressure on the university and the court. He stated the protesters were not his students as the latter were upset they had to miss his lecture.
Constitutional law professor Georgi Bliznashki, who supports the action, commented that the battle was for upping moral standards in politics and the young people were doing something impressive.
"The action was symbolic; it has nothing to do with personal attacks," he added.
On Wednesday, Bliznashki was the first teacher to visit the demonstrators.
"You are writing now a 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 the 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.
The organizers of action "Occupation" hope to attract many more students. The say their initiative is a normal practice of democratic expression of civil position.
The students have organized themselves through personal messages on social networks, in order to not compromise the action.
Action "Occupation" has its own rules banning political propaganda, violence, and alcohol. Participants have 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.
Classes in lecture hall 272 are canceled.
Some students, however, have shown discontent over the cancellations. They are quoted in saying that protests belong to the street.
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