American University in Bulgaria Stages Symbolic Anti-Govt 'Occupation'
Students from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) in the southwestern city of Blagoevgrad have symbolically joined the student protest.
In a message on the Facebook page of the protesting "Early Risers" students, they wrote the following:
"Dear friends and colleagues, this is the Facebook group of the AUBG protest movement against the absurdities in Bulgaria. By organizing ourselves and expressing our dissatisfaction, we will show solidarity to our colleagues in other Bulgarian universities who fervently defend their position as true citizens. We will not try to hinder the education process in any way; we will just show our resentment from what has been happening in Bulgaria for over 24 years. Please join us, like the page, invite your friends and colleagues, and don't forget - we will be glad to receive any support by international students as well! Our first gathering is today, 4 pm, in front of ABF theater. We will be posting regularly about the evolution of the events. Thank you."
The symbolic occupation of the first floor of the University's new Student Center did begin at 4 pm Thursday. AUBG students have also prepared a declaration supporting their colleagues from Sofia University and calling for the resignation of the government.
"The initiative was quite spontaneous; we cannot remain indifferent to what is happening in the country, so we declare our support for other Bulgarian students. The occupation, however, is rather symbolic, as it is staged with permission from the Administration of the University. It is scheduled for Thursday and Friday," one of the organizers of the action in AUBG told the Bulgarian online news agency Dnevnik.
The declaration is displayed on tables in the lobby of the building, so that students can familiarize themselves with it and express their opinion. Many Bulgarian and foreign students have already signed under it. According to the same organizer, the University has a number of foreign students, but they also have opinions and follow closely the protests and the student occupation.
Also on Thursday, an occupation action was declared in the Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad where controversial lawmaker Delyan Peevski received his degree.
The series of anti-government rallies in Bulgaria started on June 14 in response to the election of controversial MP and media tycoon Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).
Although the appointment was cancelled, the move did not appease public discontent and the protesters went on to demand the resignation of the socialist-led government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski over ties with oligarchs, as well as early elections.
The student occupation began on October 23 in the largest lecture hall 272 of Sofia University and expanded to about dozen schools, including New Bulgarian University, the Technical University, the University for National and World Economy, the National Academy for Film and Theater Arts, the National Musical Academy, the National Visual Arts Academy, the University of Architecture, and the Forestry University, all in Sofia, and the University of Plovdiv, the Economy University in Varna, the universities in Ruse and Burgas. Many students of from the Medical School of Sofia University support the occupation, but have not staged one as a decision against was made by referendum.
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