Protesting Bulgarian Students Renew Occupation of Sofia University
Students protesting against Bulgaria’s embattled left-leaning government have once again occupied the main building of the country’s largest university.
The news of the renewed occupation broke out at around midnight on Friday, with one of the students reading out a declaration a little after 2 am EET Saturday.
The declaration described the end of the previous occupation of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” as a mistake, adding that it was the students’ responsibility to renew the protest actions “that have always been carried out in solidarity with the society’s interests against the country’s most corrupt post-communist governments since 1990.”
The students once again demanded the government’s resignation, citing a number of recent corruption scandals, including the Constitutional Court’s decision to keep shady media mogul Delyan Peevski’s lawmaker status.
They also named the money laundering case against former ruling MP Hristo Biserov, fears of illegal construction in the protected area of Strandzha, ultranationalist MP Volen Siderov’s latest airport row and Bulgarian Socialist Party lawmaker Strahil Angelov’s recent controversial visit to Syria as reasons for their protest.
The students also demanded the resignation of Sofia University President Ivan Ilchev, as they feel he failed to protect the university’s academic autonomy during the previous occupation.
“We can no longer accept anything less than the government’s resignation, the adjournment of the “National” Assembly and the taking of responsibility on behalf of the people taking part in the failed rule of our homeland,” the declaration said.
Protesters against the cabinet of PM Plamen Oresharski first walked out, June 14, after the appointment of lawmaker and murky media mogul Delyan Peevski for head of the powerful 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 revived the protest movement and provoked a student occupation at Sofia University .
The "college" protests began when students occupied Lecture Hall 272, the largest teaching room of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski", on October 22. Several other universities soon followed suit.
The previous occupation at Sofia University was eased in November and only a partial blockade of the building's ceremonial hall remained. The occupation was lifted on January 14.
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