Businesses Rise against Govt-Imposed Curfew in Bulgaria's 'College Town'
Owners and employees of discos and bars in Sofia's Studentski Grad ("College Town") quarter, which is the campus for all university dorms in the Bulgarian capital, have staged a protest against a curfew imposed by the Bulgarian authorities.
Last week the Bulgarian Parliament voted to "close" nightlife venues in Sofia's infamous Studentski Grad (College Town) after they have been the scenes of violent crimes for years.
The Parliament unanimously passed at first reading the proposal of several Members of the Parliament banning all gambling facilities such as casinos under the Gambling Act, along with restaurants and night clubs, which are open after 10 pm, from being located less than 100 meters from a dorm.
Establishments, located on state properties, in dorms, or within 100 meters from them, will close at 10 pm.
There are also bans on the sale of alcohol in dorms and on opening new gambling facilities in College Town. The casinos that do not fulfill the new requirements will be closed after their 5-year license expires.
The curfew on nightlife venues in Studentski Grad has affected seven discos and dozens of night bars, their owners and staff complained at a self-organized protest rally on Monday.
"If our working hours are restricted to 10 pm, we'd rather not open the venues at all," a disgruntled owned of a night bar told the bTV channel.
Pop folk singer Konstantin, who owns a number of venues in Studentski Grad, has warned that the shutting down of the night clubs there will shed off a number of jobs, including part or full-time jobs for students living in the campus.
Sofia's College Town is infamous for and frequently makes the news over binge drinking, fights, fatal incidents and prostitution rings.
The nightlife-related violence there has claimed a massive death toll. 24-year-old Boris Kiryakov recently passed away after being severely beaten in front of a night club. The incident happened early on June 29, 2012, Kiryakov was transferred to Sofia's Pirogov hospital in critical condition and could not recover. He died on July 5th.
At the end of February 2012, Mario Danchev, 19, a student from the Economy University in Sofia, was stabbed and killed in the dormitory where he lived.
20-year-old pharmacy student Stoyan Baltov died on December 5, 2008 after sustaining severe head trauma and skull fracture from a beating in front of the "Amnesia" disco club in the Studentski Grad quarter.
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