Protests in Bulgaria, Day 70: Group of Protesters Escorted Out of Parliament Building, Interior Ministry: Not True That We Used Force
On day 70 (September 16) of protests in Sofia, the demands of the demonstrators remain unchanged: resignation of the government and Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev; machine voting at elections; changes in the judicial system.
As on previous nights, the protests took place in the area of the Triangle of Power. Today’s starting point, however, was not the usual place at the fountain in front of the building of the Presidency, but the entrance of the Parliament at Dondukov boulevard.
The tension escalated about 18:00 and it became necessary the National Service for Protection to physically escort a group of protesters and protesting mothers of children with disabilities out of the building of the Parliament.
At 6 pm on September 16, officers from the National Service for Protection and police officers started to phisically escort protesting mothers from "The System Kills Us" initiative and protestres from "Izpravi Se.bg" civic platform of the former ombudsperson Maya Manolova out of the building of the Parliament. They had been barricading themselves in one of the lobbies at the entrance to the Parliament since the morning on September 16.
Tensions escalated, and shouts were heard from protesters outside. Bottles and eggs were thrown at the police.
Police and gendarmerie forces are concentrated around the building of the Parliament
At around 6.30 pm, a boy in a wheelchair was taken out of the building and transported by ambulance.
The protesters were later joined by members of the Boets civic movement.
Maya Manolova came to the protesters and said that the NSP had forcibly removed the protesting members of the public who had come to a meeting with the parliamentary groups.
Tsveta Karayancheva (the Speaker of the Parliament) behaves as if this building belongs to Boyko Borissov as well, and this is a building of the public, Manolova announced. We saw how the citizens were beaten, pushed, thrown, she added.
At around 10 am, mothers from the "System Kills Us" and other protesters entered the building of Parliament to submit a declaration informing the MPs about the demands of the protest. Earlier, they submitted a similar declaration to the prime minister asking him to sign his resignation.
Nina Ruseva, protesting mother: Let's meet with each parliamentary group, hand out 240 declarations, and wait for them to be signed by MPs.
The mothers said that only the opposition socialist party, BSP, paid attention to them and started looking for a meeting room, but the Speaker of Parliament Tsveta Karayancheva did not allow it. The potesrs refused to leave Parliament and remained in the lobby of one of the entrances.
A mother and her child in a wheelchair were not allowed to go to the toilet in the building of the Pareliament.
Nina Ruseva, mother: By explicit prohibition of Tsvetya Karayancheva to give us access to a toilet.
Nikola Vaptsarov, "Izoravi se.bg": That's why we decided not to leave, and stay in the lobby.
The security guards did not allow the protesters to go to the toilet because of the measures against COVID-19, the Speaker of Parliament Tsveta Karayancheva said. She explained they have always been responsive and has sent the mothers' letter to all parliamentary groups.
Tsveta Karayancheva, Speaker of Parliament: I see no reason for them to continue to stay here. Yes, I see declarations being handed out. I cannot allow provocations in the National Assembly.
Karayancheva also said that the parliament is not a place for children and called on the mother to take him home.
Anton Kutev, BSP: You cannot leave a mother and a child with a disability without a toilet, you will see the consequences in the evening news.
Maya Manolova also joined the protesters. The entrance from Dondukov Blvd. was cut off, and no one could enter the Parliament except the MPs.
A woman lied down on Dondukov boulevard and the traffic was stopped. An ambulance came for her. The woman refused to be examined by the medical teams.
Shortly after 20:00, protesters started throwing eggs at the Parliament, saying their dissatisfaction was also difected owards the officers from the National Service for Protection who escorted the protesting mothers out of the building today.
For tomorrow, the protesters said they have prepared eggs for MP Vesselin Mareshki.
At 21:00, the protesters went on the procession to Eagles’ Bridge.
Ministry of Interior: Definitely not true that police took out protesters forcibly from the building of Parliament
The information in online news outlets that "police officers forcibly took out protesters from the building of the National Assembly" is definitely not true, an official position of the Ministry of Interior, sent to the media on September 17, says.
The police officers do not have legal powers to ensure or restore public order on the territory of the buildings of the National Assembly, which security is entirely within the competence of the National Service for Protection, the Ministry of Interior explained.
The responsibilities of the employees of the Ministry of Interior are to guarantee public order in the outer perimeter of the buildings of the National Assembly. Therefore, any actions to take out members of the public from inside the buildings of the Bulgarian Parliament is beyond the powers of the police, the statement reads./BNT
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