Thousands of Protesters Oppose Construction in Bulgarian Coastal Area
Around 1500 people gathered Thursday evening in Sofia in a protest against a construction clearance in a protected Black Sea coastal area.
According to reports of dnevnik.bg, the rally was attended by some 4000 demonstrators.
The protest started at 6pm in front of the Council of Ministers building in Sofia, where people vented their anger over the permit granted by the government demanded that no construction works take place in the Kara dere area.
In half an hour, the number of protestors grew to over 300, according to Darik radio.
The demonstrators blocked traffic across the Dondukov Blvd and Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd in the area between the Council of Ministers building and the President's office.
The environmental protest gradually turned into the traditional anti-government protest and protesters demanded the resignation of the socialist-led coalition cabinet.
By 7pm, over 1000 people had joined the rally.
They headed along Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd and stopped in front of the Parliament building.
After that, they headed for Orlov Most (Eagle's Bridge), where they blocked traffic for around 30 minutes.
After that, the protesters returned to the Parliament building, shouting "Mafia" and "Resign" amid increased police presence.
The rally ended at around 8.30 pm and the demonstrators dispersed.
Kara dere is some 10 km away from the northeastern town of Byala.
Environmentalists and the residents of the nearby village of Goritsa strongly oppose construction works in the area.
Deputy Economy and Energy Minister Anna Yaneva insisted that the reports about ongoing construction works in Kara dere were untrue and rejected claims that the government had granted financial assistance to the project.
Bulgaria's government approved Wednesday construction works in the Kara dere area on the Black Sea coast.
The Cabinet backed a memorandum with the company Madara Europe, represented in Bulgaria by offshore company Rainbow Malta Limited, under which the company is to invest over BGN 100 M in three hotels and three public service areas in the area.
The project is to create 500 jobs in the municipality.
In its revised form, the scheme spans a gross floor area of 210 decares. It envisages the construction of 1200 separate housing units with an average size of around 120 square meters of gross floor area.
The Kara dere area is part of the Natura 2000 network, in the protected area Kamchiyska Planina, for the conservation of bird species and protected area Shkorpilovtsi Beach for the conservation of the conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna.