Forestry Act Supporters to Block Downtown Sofia

Society | June 19, 2012, Tuesday // 10:00
Forestry Act Supporters to Block Downtown Sofia: Forestry Act Supporters to Block Downtown Sofia Thousands of Bulgarian nature lovers and other citizens opposing the Forestry Act have been staging protest rallies in the area of the key intersection of Orlov Most (Eagles Bridge) in Sofia ever since Wednesday evening. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

A new protest is threatening to blockade downtown Sofia for over an hour Tuesday with supporters of the controversial Forestry Act rallying against the veto on it imposed by President Rosen Plevneleiv.

The "Nature for People and Regions" coalition is holding the rally between 12 pm and 1 pm in front of the building of the Parliament under the motto "No to the Environmentalists' Racket!"

The participants will then march to the Council of Ministries building to hand their demands to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.

"We will voice our firm disagreement with the veto. We invite all, who realize that for 8 years now not even one investment has happened in Bulgarian forests and mountains because legislation is pushing investors away, to join us," the organizers state in an open letter to the media.

The Forestry Act was passed by the Parliament during the day on Wednesday while on Saturday Bulgarian President, Rosen Pleveneliev issued a veto on all of its texts.

Thousands of Bulgarian nature lovers and other citizens opposing the Forestry Act have been staging protest rallies in the area of the key intersection of Orlov Most (Eagles Bridge) in Sofia ever since Wednesday evening. On Sunday they went to the location to plant flowers after being accused by Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, of destroying the nearby green areas in the central Borisova Gradina park.

About 500 people from the winter resorts of Bansko and Razlog gathered Sunday near the town of Simitli in a rally backing the amendments to the Forestry Act, passed by the Parliament last Wednesday.

The protest, widely-believed to be staged by the "Nature for People and Regions" coalition funded by notorious businessman Tseko Minev, was staffed by several hundred citizens from the mountainous Blagoevgrad region.

It lasted about 40 minutes, while the E-79 road to Greece was blocked for about 20. Lyuben Tatarski, MP from GERB, was at the helm of the blockade.

Another counter-protest was held Monday with a blockade of E-79 by the people from the towns of Dupnitsa and Sapareva Banya. The blockade lasted about 15 minutes.

The Mayor of Simitli, Apostol Apostolov, declared the Sunday rally illegal, saying the demonstrators were paid to attend, bused to the location, and guarded by police who beat people at other protests.

The ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, already vowed to return the Act for first reading again and not pass it into law until full consensus between all interested parties is reached.

The negotiations focused on the controversial lawmaking between Bulgarian environmentalists, the business and those in power continue Tuesday, after reaching stalemate one day earlier.

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Tags: Apostolov, Apostol, mayor, Similti, veto, Rosen Plevneliev, MP, GERB, Blagoevgrad, Dobrinishte, Razlog, Bansko, protesters, riot police, police, Simitli, e-79, greece, GERB, Rosen Plevneliev, Forestry Act, protected areas, tseko minev, parliament, Sunny Beach, criminal contingent, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, Filip Tsanov, Nature for People and Regions, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, protest, Borisova Gradina
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