Bulgarian Culture Minister Lashes Out at Environmental Protesters
One more Bulgarian cabinet member has condemned the ongoing protests against the country's controversial Forestry Act, as Culture Minister Vezhdi Rahidov has described them as "unfair towards Sofianites."
"100-200 people should not turn the lives of the other 2 million Sofianites into a nightmare," he declared, referring to the more the several thousand citizens protest who have been staging rallies in the area of the key intersection of Orlov Most (Eagles Bridge) in the Bulgarian capital ever since Wednesday evening.
Rashidov expressed his doubts that the rallies have been spontaneous. He stated that the protests have been organized with "lots of money."
"The whole forests will not disappear. But we need to have facilities, too," he claimed, adding that he has been forced to send his granddaughters on skiing vacations to Austria instead of their home country.
The Forestry Act that would allow the construction of ski tracks and lifts without changing the status of the land was passed by the Parliament on Wednesday. On Saturday, Bulgarian President, Rosen Pleveneliev issued a veto on all of its texts.
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 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.
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