Like Brazil, Bulgarian people rule with protest

More than 100 legislators, government ministers, journalists and officials were blockaded inside the Bulgarian Parliament building late Tuesday night and into Wednesday, as the 40th day of largely peaceful street protests in Sofia, the capital, turned confrontational. Police tried to clear the crowd to make way for a bus exiting Parliament under heavy guard. Protesters blew whistles, shouted “resign!” and “Mafia!” and threw bottles at the bus, as police officers in riot gear beat them back.
Thousands of protesters have gathered in the city center every day for the last 40 days, since June 14, when the government appointed Delyan Peevski, 32, a politically connected media mogul, as head of the powerful State Agency for National Security.
The government withdrew the appointment after the immediate public outcry, but thousands have continued to march through the city center every day in peaceful protests demanding an end to what they see as incompetent, corrupt and nepotistic governance, a view they say was only confirmed by the appointment of Mr. Peevski.
Bulgarians have grown accustomed to taking to the streets to express their grievances since last summer when environmentalists blocked a major Sofia intersection to protest a forestry law. Their demands were met several days later when the law was amended.
The Bulgarians have been inspired by the creative spirit of the protests across the border in neighboring Turkey. But unlike the bloody and tear-gas filled streets of Istanbul, Sofia’s have remained largely celebratory and peaceful.
The protesters had hardened their strategy. While the protesters, who gathered after working hours, once shouted slogans at empty government buildings, they are now surrounding the Parliament while it is in session and demanding government attention.

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