Bulgarian PM Evades Faceoff with Protesting Students
Bulgarian students from the University of National and World Economy, UNSS, supported by colleagues from Sofia University, attempted Saturday to hand in person a resignation to Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski.
Oresharski is a lecturer at the school, and according to the class schedule, he was to have a lecture at UNSS at 9 am. He did not appear.
Protesting students say in outrage that this was Oresharski's one of only two lectures for the semester. They wrote on their Facebook page they also wanted to hear his economic concepts, but were deprived of the opportunity.
The PM's assistant has arrived to deliver the lecture and has explained there was a schedule change for which students have been notified.
Meanwhile, lecture hall 2006 in UNSS remains occupied. Occupations are also in place in colleges that joined the blockade.
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.
"Occupation" agenda for Saturday, announced on Facebook, includes a debate on civil unrest to be held at Sofia University, and a concert in support of protesting students, which starts at 3 pm. The protest rally begins at 6 pm. After it, a general meeting will be held at Sofia University's largest lecture hall, 272, which remains under blockade.
Also on Saturday, the National Union of Students is holding its annual general meeting in the northeastern city of Shumen. Delegates represent all universities and colleges in Bulgaria. The agenda of the meeting includes a discussion on the current situation with student protests, where a solution will be sought. According to the young people, however, the task to come out with common position on the issue will be difficult because there are many different opinions. Students also said that they are prepared to dialogue about the blockades with the Ministry of Education.
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