Bulgarians Hold 8th Coffee-Drinking Rally near Parliament
Bulgarians are protesting Friday for the eight morning in a row by staging a coffee-drinking anti-government rally in front of the Parliament building in downtown Sofia.
There are stands offering free coffee to demonstrators. The plastic cups are being collected carefully before being sent for recycling not only to keep the area litter-free, but to be counted to estimate the number of participants.
Downtown Sofia is under a true blockade with all streets leading to the Parliament sealed off by the police. Security measures and police presence in the area are upped to the maximum. Metal fences reach all the way to the Alexander Nevsky cathedral.
Only parliamentary reporters are allowed inside the security zone after a thorough ID and accreditation check. Journalists working on reporting the protests are to stay with the demonstrators.
Over 100 people have gathered by 9:30 am. They are holding national flags, megaphones, whistles, and banners, shouting once again demands for the government's resignation.
Protesters have placed slices of bread behind the metal fences and have hung on them a number of banners and toilet paper.
There are also toys – tanks and army trucks, and cardboard boxes on which the demonstrators have glued proposals to amend the Election Code.
Traffic jams have been reported. The Members of the Parliament, however, continue their session unperturbed.
The morning protest is to merge with the traditional afternoon rally, the 22nd in a row, starting 6.30 pm in front of the Council of Ministers building.
The series of anti-government protests in Bulgaria was triggered by the scandalous appointment of media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
Although the appointment was revoked, the people went on to demand that the cabinet resign collectively over ties with oligarchs.
Protesters are also calling for Election Code amendments which will guarantee greater representation of the people in Parliament.
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