Sofia University President to Refer Blockade to Prosecuting Authority

Society | January 26, 2014, Sunday // 12:04
Bulgaria: Sofia University President to Refer Blockade to Prosecuting Authority Prof. Ivan Ilchev, President of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski." Photo by BGNES

Sofia University President Ivan Ilchev has said he has sought permission to take steps to terminate the renewed blockade of the central building of the university.

In a Sunday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Ilchev explained that he had asked the members of the Academic Council of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" for permission to take all lawful steps necessary to put an end to the occupation staged to demand the resignation of the government, including by referring the case to the prosecuting authority.

He described the people behind the new occupation as ones who sought to become heroes by forcing the police to enter the main building of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski."

"This is a group of people who do not dare confront the ones they identify as their enemies and they are using the university as a punching bag," Ilchev declared.

He emphasized that the security guards of the building, which was a cultural monument, had been expelled, leaving equipment worth tens of millions of leva unattended.

Ilchev also noted that the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" had to work to a tight schedule in the coming week, including an exam session, classes of part-time students, and an extension of the semester to compensate for classes missed due to the previous blockade.

He said that the launch of a number of international projects was forthcoming, as well as the adoption of the budget of the University, and the approval of admission numbers for 2014.

"They know that but they are not interested. These are people who see the world in black and white, they refuse to listen to other people's reasoning, they are not interested in the rights of individuals, and they interpret democracy as it suits them," Ilchev said, adding that he had had four meetings with the protesters on Saturday.

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.

The students once again demanded the embattled 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 that Ilchev should step down, as they feel he failed to protect the university's academic autonomy during the previous occupation.

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Tags: anti-government protests, occupation, Sofia University, Ivan Ilchev, Delyan Peevski, anti-corruption

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