Students try to blockade Bulgaria's parliament, five detained

SOFIA Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:17am EST

1 of 7. Protesters try to block a police vehicle during a demonstration near the parliament in central Sofia November 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

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SOFIA (Reuters) - Hundreds of Bulgarian students tried to blockade lawmakers inside parliament on Tuesday, escalating their street demonstrations against the Socialist-led government.

However, they were unable to break a heavy police cordon around the building despite throwing objects at the officers. Five protesters were detained after scuffles with riot police.

The protest was organized by students who have chained shut the doors of the Balkan country's biggest university since Monday, occupying lecture halls and preventing teaching.

"The university occupation is not enough, the government does not hear us and completely ignores us, so a blockade of parliament may do it," said Stanislav Kastchiyski, a journalism student at the Sofia University told Reuters.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski took office in May after a center-right government was brought down after massive protests over high utility bills. It is under pressure from daily protests alleging corrupt ties with business groups.

"We want to stay in Bulgaria and live with dignity. We know that for this to happen something has to change and this government has to go. It is entangled in all kinds of shadowy interests," Kastchiyski said.

Membership of the European Union since 2007 has brought prosperity to many, but has also encouraged young people to emigrate, leaving behind an ever older and poorer population, while the failure to entrench the strict rule of law and combat graft has deterred badly needed foreign investment.

The students rallied in downtown Sofia on Sunday, the latest protest, including sit-ins at 15 universities across the European Union's poorest member, to call for the cabinet to resign.

According to a poll by the independent Alpha Research, the protests are backed by 60 percent of Bulgarians.

University professors and teachers issued a statement condemning the "lies and 'tycoonization' of the political and social environment".

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova and Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (3)
DrDenmark wrote:
As far as I know Bulgaria, today’s protests are escalating because:

1) students in Bulgaria are not working and they replace the average 10-12 student working hours per week with social insubordination

2) other students get inspired from local political organizations and become main provocators in the protests in their efforts to gain some personal benefits in their political career

3) every political party has its own remonstrators and counterremonstrators, so the protests are neverending in Bulgaria

4) students are neither enough educated nor enough experienced to avoid the manipulation of old State Security Gurus (TIM VARNA and its Godfathers)

5) it is a little bit too late for protests. the land is sold. there is no more national industry left, small companies suffer. foreign companies do not want to pay average european salaries

p.s. I might be wrong. But you can correct me

My advise to the people in Bulgaria is to stimulate national production, to buy fruits from their neighbours even if the home price is 5 times higher than the european, to drink only bulgarian homemade wine & rakia, not to sale their properties to foreigners, to export more, to work on branding and I am sure their money will go back to their pocket.

Nov 12, 2013 7:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
In fact, throughout Bulgarian society–government agencies, media, business, and all religious institutions–Communist era agents of the “defunct” ‘Committee for State Security’ are in control. This was the assessment of a Files Commission set up to investigate Communist era government agents still active in Bulgarian society today. In other words, the “collapse” of the Communist Bulgarian government was prepared for, where Communist agents were placed into positions of power/influence before the “collapse”.

If Files Commissions were set up in all other “former” East Bloc nations, and nations that made up the “former” USSR, one would find the same phenomena, meaning the “collapses” of the East Bloc and USSR were strategic ruses.

Nov 13, 2013 1:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
Bulgaria needs international help. Let the world know what happens in a “democratic” European country.
Each country where police is guarding government and beating people is certainly not democratic. Yesterday the totalitarian regime returned to Bulgaria. Even journalists were beaten and buffeted to stop filming what is happening. One officer even afford to break the camera of a journalist from the Italian media RAI. I have no words.

Nov 13, 2013 6:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
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