Bulgarians try to occupy Parliment in protest of Deep State

Student protesters tried but failed to occupy the Bulgarian Parliament building here on Friday, then marched through the city center and broke through four police cordons in the latest of a series of angry demonstrations against the center-left government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/16/world/europe/students-try-to-occupy-bulgarian-parliament-building.html?ref=world
There were no reports of serious violence, and the police made only scattered arrests before the student demonstrators retreated to the main building of Sofia University, which they have occupied since Oct. 23, bringing classes to a halt. Officials were bracing for the possibility of additional unrest at rallies by rival political parties this weekend.
Bulgaria has been convulsed by near constant protests since mid-June, when citizens took to the streets in outrage over the appointment of Delyan Peevski, a politically connected media magnate, as the head of the State Agency for National Security. Although Mr. Peevski resigned, some protesters said his selection proved that shadowy business interests controlled the government.
In recent weeks, students have taken the lead, occupying the main university and making an initial failed attempt to storm the Parliament building on Tuesday. Protest leaders said the renewed attempt on Friday was intended mostly to antagonize the police.
“The goal of the protest today was to drive the police crazy,” said Ivaylo Diney, a student leader. “We know that we can’t break through them, but we can have them run in circles while we call for politicians to listen to civil society and follow the law.”
Public opinion surveys show that a majority of Bulgarians agree with the protesters’ demand for new elections, and some analysts said any use of force by the police would only increase that support.
“By now it seems the protesters have won the argument — 60 to 70 percent of the country say they agree with the main demands,” said Daniel Smilov, a political science professor at Sofia University.
“There is no response from the government,” Professor Smilov said. “The government is generally saying that they are going to sit out the whole thing. They are making plans for a full four-year mandate and so on. And of course, this is triggering quite a lot of student anger.”
Professor Smilov said he viewed the mostly peaceful protests as a sign that Bulgarian democracy had progressed. But there seems to be no political party or candidate that the protesters are prepared to embrace .
“For the first time, we have a strong civil society movement demanding political reforms,” he said. But “we don’t have a kind of savior coming.”
On Friday, about 2,000 students began gathering in front of the Parliament building about 11 a.m., pressing up against newly installed metal barricades. Then they hung a large poster depicting the metal barriers in Sofia as the Berlin Wall.
From there, students thronged into the city center, swarming police officers on the street, who gave up their posts and retreated behind the barriers outside Parliament.
At the occupied university, Boris Stoyanov, a professor of modern history, said the students were justified in their anger. “Our government can accept protests that are driven by money,” Professor Stoyanov said. “But these students want politicians to do what is moral. They protest for morals, for responsibility, for transparency, and this the politicians cannot understand.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: