Protesting Bulgarians Form Human Chain around Parliament
Protesting Bulgarian students, teachers and citizens have formed a human chain around the building of the Parliament.
The protesters are determined to not let the lawmakers leave the Parliament, which is currently holding a sitting.
Shortly before 1 pm protesters sang the national anthem in front of the Parliament's main entrance, and then started to join hands and surround its perimeter.
Nearly the entire adjacent area is blocked. There is heavy riot police presence.
Earlier in the afternoon, police did not allow people to block the intersection of "Dondukov" and "Vassil Levski" boulevards and pushed them by force to the sidewalks. This prompted the demonstrators to start shouting "mafia" and the name of Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev.
The latest unrest in the Bulgarian capital started after scores of citizens responded to the call of university lecturers to come at 11 am Friday at Sofia University to join their anti-government protest.
The teachers were also joined by students from Sofia University, the University of National and World Economy, the Medical School, and from other colleges participating in the student blockades.
The march is held under the slogan "University Teachers Say Wake Up!" as on November 1, the country marks National Enlighteners Day.
The participants in the march have already issued a call for nationwide strikes.
Supporters of Bulgaria's Socialist-led government are also staging a rally while riot police presence in downtown Sofia is trying to keep the two groups separate.
Students are staging partial or full blockades at a number of universities in Sofia and across the country, demanding the resignation of the socialist-led government and the dissolution of Parliament.
The initiative was launched by the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", which has had its central building blocked since last Friday. No classes are taking place at the central building on Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd and the governing body of the University is in talks with the protesting students to persuade them to lift the blockade.
The protests were triggered by the Constitutional Court's controversial decision to confirm the status of notorious media mogul Delyan Peevski as Member of Parliament earlier in October.
On June 14, Peevski was elected and swore in as chair of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security, a move that prompted massive anti-corruption protests in EU's poorest member state.
The appointment was canceled, but protesters proceeded to demand the government's resignation over its suspected ties with oligarchs. The demonstrations were later fueled by a number of other controversial appointments and by wider concerns about corruption.
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