4 Ant-Govt Protesters in Custody after Clashes in Bulgarian Capital
Four people have been arrested Saturday evening in the Bulgarian capital Sofia during protests against the Socialist-endorsed government.
Clashes escalated when some more aggressive demonstrators started to push the security fences that guard the building of the Parliament, threw torches inside the perimeter of the security zone and used teargas sprays against riot police. One police officer has been hurt and examined by a doctor.
3 of those in custody will be sanctioned for resisting police orders and the 4th person will be subjected to criminal procedure for using teargas against a policemen.
Thousands of people gathered in Sofia Saturday evening to demand the resignation of the government.
They brought a giant statue of a hand with an extended middle finger and placed it in front of the government headquarters on Independence square in downtown Sofia.
Slightly after 7pm, the protesters headed on a torch march to the Parliament building.
Traffic along the main Tsar Liberator Blvd in Sofia was blocked.
In October, in the eve of general elections in the Czech Republic, where polls forecasted that the Communists might enter the rule "through the back door" for the first time ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Cerny floated a huge purple statue of an extended middle finger down the River Vltava in Prague.
Further clashes occurred in Sofia Saturday evening when a group of protesters besieged a popular restaurant, where Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, was dinning with other people.
Despite attempts of the staff of the "Club of the Architect" restaurant to keep the demonstrators away, some of them managed to make their way into the lobby, shouting "Yovchev Go Away!"
A large number of riot police was dispatched and managed to push the demonstrators to side streets and to not allow other people streaming to the establishment to enter its yard.
The police have been very restrained and cautious in using force. Some policemen reasoned with protesters to convince them to not attempt to blockade the restaurant and cause violence with this act.
Yovchev was able to leave around 10 pm in a government SUV.
Some protesters have condemned the "assault" on the restaurant where many people were having dinner at the time.
The protest Saturday evening coincided with the 24th anniversary of a historical pro-democracy rally back in 1989 that saw hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians march against the notorious Article 1 of the totalitarian Constitution postulating the leading role of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
During this rally, Petar Mladenov, former Foreign Minister in the Communist government and first Head of State after the fall of the regime, was caught on camera saying: "We better bring the tanks in." Mladenov insisted until his death in 2000 that the recording was tempered with.
The Saturday march also marked 6 months to date from the start of the antigovernment rally.
Protesters against the Socialist-led cabinet first walked out June 14, after the appointment of controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski for head of Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security. The rallies attracted dozens of thousands of anti-corruption protesters for a number of days.
Peevski's reinstatement as MP after his resignation from the Security Agency provoked a student occupation at Sofia University in October.
Rallies, though smaller in numbers, are still held every evening in downtown Sofia.
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