New Anti-Cartel Protests Loom in Bulgaria

Society | February 19, 2013, Tuesday // 09:20| Views: | Comments: 2
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New Anti-Cartel Protests Loom in Bulgaria: New Anti-Cartel Protests Loom in Bulgaria Protesters and police in front of Parliament in Sofia Monday evening. Photo by BGNES

The protest rallies against high utility bills and monopolies are continuing Tuesday.

The rallies in downtown Sofia Monday evening were marked by demands for resignation of the Cabinet and clashes with riot police, which continued for over 4 hours with policemen chasing demonstrators on Sofia streets.

The most serious clash happened on the central "Hristo Botev" boulevard where police attacked the crowd with batons. In another incident, shots were fired from a balcony in downtown Sofia. The shooter was arrested and the gas pistol seized.

According to official data of the Interior Ministry, 11 people have been detained and 6 patrol cars have sustained damage.

The Chief of Sofia police, Commissar Valeri Yordanov, informs the man fired the gas pistol at the demonstrators because they were pushing his parked vehicle. He explained that two of the other 10 detainees had criminal records – for distribution of illegal drugs and disorderly conduct, respectively.

Two minors have also been arrested and later released to the custody of their parents, who were summoned to pick them up from the police precinct. All have 24 hours detention orders.

Several people have sustained slight injuries, both policemen and demonstrators.

Bulgarian flute virtuoso, Christian Koev, was among the detainees. He was held briefly and released. Koev says this was his first arrest, reminding he has been bestowed the "baron" title in Brussels for his talent.

The musician threatens to alert European institutions.

"I am independent, and perform all over the world. I don't make my living in Bulgaria. I can leave today and settle in Italy. What is happening? I come back to Bulgaria and see the impossible electric bills of my mother, and this is why I am protesting. Why am I being arrested? Am I a criminal?" Koev told the media while in handcuffs.

Meanwhile, the news agency BGNES reported that journalists have been pushed and hit by riot police.

Thousands of residents of the Black Sea city of Varna also took on the streets and blocked the main road to the "Golden Sands" beach resort. In the second largest city of Plovdiv, demonstrators set on fire a vehicle of the electric power distributor EVN, bringing the total to four.

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» To the forumComments (2)
Chushki - 19 Feb 2013 // 13:49:30

Peter, regarding your question ''who will take over? and what can they do?''

Well, the answer is the same bunch of crooks as before i.e. the Commie-Turk-Witch(Kuneva) coalitionwho are just waiting in the wings, hoping for collective Bulgarian public amnesia so that they get re-elected and can get their dirty hands on the country's money. And as for energy, of course, they have the Belene NPP - which the Commie-Turk-Witch coalition tried to build during their last term but failed due to corruption and incompetence, and tried again recently through the referendum. If they get back into power though there will be nothing preventing them from kickstarting the project - ensuring all their families and sponsors are awarded lucrative construction contracts, whilst the Bulgarian tax-payer (i.e. normal Bulgarians, the ones currently protesting - not the super rich who dont pay any tax) are in debt for decades to come for EUR 10 billion and counting.....

peterperfect - 19 Feb 2013 // 10:18:01

I am assuming that, as there are no comments on this piece, that everyone is out protesting?? BB will have to get a grip on this otherwise it will be curtains for him in the next election. That begs a question though, who will take over? and what can they do? Allover Europe energy prices are rising, only a few minutes ago I was reading that the Uk are being told to expect "large" rises in energy costs. Maybe competition is the answer, at present, if you are in an EVN area you can only buy energy from EVN, if the grid were a company and supplied electricity as a commodity to the 3 energy suppliers who could draw their customers from anywhere in Bulgaria (ie: we would all choose which supplier to go irrespective of where we lived) then we would have a choice and the suppliers would have to compete.

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