Three Protests Hampered the Movement in Bulgaria Today
Three parallel protests took place in Sofia since the morning - of carriers, of public transport workers and of taxi drivers. Key intersections at peak hours were closed. Everyone protested against the high prices and asked for measures and help from the state.
"The state budget was voted without the necessary funds for this social service public transport. This is going to stop public transport. We want to keep our jobs," said Rosen Evgeniev, a public transport dispatcher.
"The subway can be stopped. At the last minute, people received their salaries on Monday. Pennies were literally collected so that people could receive their salaries for April," said Ivan Kirilov, chairman of the “Podkrepa” Transport Workers' Federation.
"The estimate of BGN 144 million was made at diesel prices of BGN 2.85. You can see that the price is increasing. The same is true with natural gas. The big problem in public transport after the covid crisis came from energy sources," said Carlos Contrera, Chairman of the Transport Commission on the occasion of the protest of public transport workers in Sofia.
Taxi drivers also protested in Sofia. They gathered around 9:00 a.m on the South Arc of the Ring Road.
At 10:00 a.m. they set off on a drive to the city center, blocking for 10 minutes intersections around the Center for Hygiene and the National Palace of Culture.
They are pushing for measures to reduce fuel prices.
The protesting carriers remain with unchanged demands - to reduce the excise tax on fuels and not to expand the scope of the toll system. They kept their promise not to completely block traffic on key roads.
"We expect to continue the constructive dialogue, we expect to achieve the necessary results and by then we will protest, we will defend our positions, we said this to the Prime Minister quite correctly, because they have not fulfilled any of our demands and we have a moral duty not only to our colleagues but also to every Bulgarian citizen who supports our protests ", commented Magdalena Miltenova, President of the Confederation of Bus Carriers.
"Since yesterday's meeting, two specific commitments have emerged on our part - the protest today to be peaceful, the government has a commitment not to be repressive today, to allow trucks to Sofia and not to record license numbers and then carry out subsequent checks. At the moment we are keeping our commitment, but unfortunately, we are again forbidden by the government to do the things we agreed with the police - to make a march to the Fourth kilometer and go back to where it is allowed for trucks," said Dimitar Dimitrov from the Chamber of Commerce for road carriers in Bulgaria.
Tensions erupted in Burgas after a truck belonging to one of the courier companies tried to cross the blockade. Protesters described the actions as a provocation by the transport minister.
Trucks and construction equipment blocked the right lanes along three of the main entrance-exit arteries of Plovdiv.
In Yambol, the bus lines of the public transport will not be carried out until 17:00 p.m. today. Carriers from Yambol, Sliven and Burgas gathered in the parking lot next to the Kabile junction on the Trakia Highway at 9 a.m. The protesters' initial intention to block the highway and the road to the Lesovo border checkpoint was replaced by blocking the two ring roads near Yambol. Thus, dozens of trucks, buses and taxis made traffic difficult between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m.
"We are protesting that the excise duty should be reduced to 50%, we must not allow an increase in the tol system to be expanded and the routes to be increased for the supplement, which is for the biodiversity of the diesel. Based on yesterday's conversations, which took place in the Council of Ministers, we agreed to stop the protests for two weeks, we are actually ready to protest, but we are stopping the protests and we are waiting for the decision of the Government on what measures it will take for our demands." - said Teodor Todorov, organizer of the protest in Yambol.
A civil protest closed the “Kulata” border checkpoint for a short time. The protest was organized by residents of Petrich and Sandanski in support of the national protest of the carriers.
After failing to block the border, protesters formed a living chain. So the traffic was stopped for a very short time. With the protest, citizens and carriers aim to show that their patience has been exhausted. The protesters said that if their demands were not met by Sunday, traffic would be blocked on all important arteries in southwestern Bulgaria on Monday, but this time with civil disobedience.
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