Bulgaria Ends Probe into 'Jan Palach' Death, Questions Remain
Bulgarian prosecutors’ office has closed its probe into the death of a young man who fatally set himself on fire in Varna in February to protest against the links between the city council and the mafia.
Late on Monday, Varna prosecutor’s office issued details about the probe, which however leaves unanswered the question whether Plamen Goranov wanted to kill himself or was incited to suicide.
The detailed account of the events, which unfolded on the fatal winter day, shows that Plamen did pour himself with gas. But he seems to have flicked on the lighter only after bodyguards did not heed his warning not to approach.
While in the ambulance, on his way to the hospital, the man was conscious and repeatedly said he did not want to kill himself, just show his protest with a more dramatic act.
When the 36-year-old artist, climber and environmentalist, set himself on fire in the center of Bulgaria's sea capital Varna, scene of the biggest rallies of anti-government protesters during the winter months, Bulgaria was jolted like never before.
The days before his dramatic act Plamen was a regular demonstrator at the mass protests, sparked by excessive utility bills, but later morphing into political protests, forcing Varna mayor to resign.
The rallies were especially strong in the coastal Varna, where the local government is believed to be fully controlled by the local organized-crime-group-turned-business-corporation, known as TIM.
"Down with TIM!," Plamen Goranov chanted as he addressed one of the rallies, the 30 000-strong pulsating crowd taking up his call.
While struggling with severe burns that had left healthy skin only on his feet the young man became known as Bulgaria's Jan Palach, the Prague student, whose death in flames sparked the hope of a whole nation back in 1969.
Just like Jan Palach, Plamen did not live to see his dream come true – he died in hospital from severe burns and organ failure on March 3, just two days before Varna controversial mayor Kiril Yordanov quit under the immense public pressure.
His painful death and political gesture fueled talk of the "Bulgarian spring", like the ones in Tunisia and Egypt where hundreds of people sacrificed their lives to overthrow the hated policies.
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