Archive for ‘Bulgaria’

november 9, 2015

Silent crossing through Bulgaria ends up in registration process in Serbia

Most of the refugees, crossing via Bulgaria, arrive in Dimitrovgrad, a little town, that is 4 km from the Serbian-Bulgarian Border and 60m away from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. They have to register at a camp, that is managed by the Serbian border police. Some are walking days before they finally arrive the police station. Taxi Drivers are waiting in front and offer a ride to Belgrade for 200 Euro. The volunteers camp is located in the same area as the police station with the tent of the red cross and the presence of the UNHCR. At the end of the working day, the representation of the UNHCR and the Red Cross closed before 4 pm. After the registration process, they have to leave the country within three days. Usually they buy a bus ticket to Belgrade for 25 Euro, money that is sometimes provided by volunteers.

Roughly 300 people, later trying to move on for seeking shelter in other European countries, are arriving in Dimitrovgrad day by day. Most of the people are young men, nevertheless, from time to time, there are families that arrive with them. Two unaccompanied minors, Jamal and Sami*, explained what they saw in the region at the Turkish-Bulgarian border: „We saw two dead bodies laying on the ground. They did not look well anymore. After the police caught us, they were cutting our backpacks.“

Aziz, the father of a young family told us the situation at a detention center, next to Sofia: „I saw 3 families in Busmantsi. They are there since weeks. Some people are staying 2 days, some even month. I don’t know, what is the Bulgarian system.“ He later told us about his friend, being controled by police, that was supposed to „pay 20 Leva (10 Euro) for nothing“.

Some people manage to pass through Bulgaria without any registration and even some people who are being caught by authorities manage to escape. Nuri, another young Afghan man spoke about what happened to him when he was arrested at the border: “When I said to the (Bulgarian Border)police, that I wanted to go on to Germany, they hit me on my mouth.“ After the custody, when he was brought to the open camp in Ovcha Kupel he escaped: „Before they took my fingerprints I left the (open) camp.“

The situation for refugees in Bulgaria is continuously criticized by several NGOs. The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee stated recently, that “duration of the asylum procedure has increased on average from 3 to 6 months and is still growing“ in Bulgaria, as well as interpretation service could not be provided. Not everybody, who is trying to escape the situation in Bulgaria, can cross the border. The recently published report, of the BHC in cooperation with ECRE, shows that 2,199 people where caught at the border when they wanted to leave the country, only in the first half of 2015.

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria

februar 28, 2013

Bi lahko praksa zadnjih protestov v Bolgariji služila kot navdih za druge protestnike po svetu?

bolgarijabalkanwakeup

Balkan, prebudi se!

Prvi val privatizacij v Bolgariji se je odvijal med leti 1992 in 1994 pod stranko ZDS (Združenje demokratičnih sil). Zemlja in industrija so bile privatizirane preko izdaje delnic državnih podjetij vsem državljanom, vendar je to spremljala množična brezposelnost, ko so nekonkurenčna podjetja propadla.

Negativna reakcija na gospodarske reforme je omogočila BSS (Bolgarska socialistična stranka) prevzem oblasti leta 1995. Že v letih 1996-1997 so se začeli množični protesti proti vladi BSS, ki je državo pripeljala da hiperinflacije in splošne krize.

Leta 1997 je vlada BSS padla in na oblast je prišla UDF, ki je prva preživela celoten 4-letni mandat od časov komunizma. S pomočjo IMF (Mednarodni denarni sklad) so bile izvedene gospodarske reforme, vključno z množično privatizacijo podjetij v državni lasti. Država je začela pristopna pogajanja za sprejem v EU (ki se ji je Bolgarija priključila 1. januarja 2007).

UDF je bila obtožena korupcije, nepotizma in nelegane privatizacije. Večina obtožb je letela na prodajo podjetij s t.i. “Videnovega seznama za likvidacijo in izolacijo” po najnižji ceni.

Privatizacija se nadaljuje do dandanes. Leta 2004 je Republika Bolgarija prodala 67% delež svojih treh podjetij za distibucijo elektrike nemškemu podjetju E.ON Energie AG, avstrijskemu EVN AG in češkemu CEZ a.s..

Gospodarske težave in val korupcije so povzročila, da se je 800.000 Bolgarov, vključno s številnimi usposobljenimi strokovnjaki, moralo izseliti. Reforma, ki so jo začeli leta 1997, je privedla do naraščajočih socialnih neenakosti. Politični sistem od leta 1989 praktično ni bil sposoben zvišati življenjski standard državljanov. Ravno nasprotno, glede na izsledke raziskave Pew Global Attitudes Project iz leta 2009, je 76% Bolgarov izjavilo, da so nezadovoljni s sistemom demokracije, 63% je menilo, da prosti trg ni izboljšal življenja in samo 11% Bolgarov se je strinjalo, da so navadni ljudje nekaj pridobili s spremebami iz leta 1989.

Protest v Bolgariji se je začel v Blagoevgradu pozno v januarju, potem ko so porabniki prejeli račun za elektriko, ki je bil dvakrat višji od prejšnjega meseca. Protestniki so simbolično zažgali račune.

Motivacijski video protestov v Bolgariji

10. februarja so se dogajali protesti v številnih krajih – Sofija, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Šumen, Blagoevgrad, Sandaski, Silistra, Jambol, Goce Delčev, Belene, Montana, Dobrič in Kardžali. Isti dan sta bili zažgani delovni vozili EVN (EVN Bolgarija, del avstrijske EVN AG za elektro-distribucijo) v Plovdivu. Demostranti v Sofiji so se zbrali pred Ministrstvom za gospodarstvo, energetiko in turizem in s snežnimi kepami obmetavali ministra Deljana Dobreva. En protestnik je bil zaboden v Varni 13. februarja.

Do srede februarja je bilo na cestah na deset tisoče ljudi, ki so med drugim zahtevali nacionalizacijo privatnih regionalnih monopolov, odstranitev podjemnih izvajalcev, dodelitev elektrodistibucije in prometa NEK EAD (državnemu podjetju za elektrodistribucijo), razveljavitev vseh pogodb med državo in energetskimi družbami in bolj liberalno uporabo zakonov o uporabi elektike in ogrevanja.

17. februarja je državna demonstracija proti monopolom zbrala 10.000 ljudi v Plovdivu, 8.000 (do 30.000 po drugih ocenah) v Varni, in manjše število v drugih mestih. Skupno je protestirako 150.000 ljudi po celi državi v 35 mestih. Glavne avtoceste in regionalne ceste po državi so bile zaprte; v glavnem mestu je na žandarje, zgradbo Ministrstva za gospodarstvo in Državni zbor letelo kamenje, steklenice in jajca. Ljudje so vzklikali “mafija” in “odstop” in nosili napise kot “To ni potest, to je proces – boj za novo Bolgarijo”, “dol z GERB” in “Janičarji, konec se bliža”. Vladi so dali en teden, da odgovori na njihove zahteve. Spopadi so se zgodili v bližini sedeža ČEZ (Češke distribucijske družbe) v Sofiji.

18. februarja so se demonstracije nadaljevale po celi državi. V Sofiji so prerasle v državljansko nepokorščino in protestniki so poskušali zasesti Državni zbor. Množico so porinili nazaj na Orlov most (začetno točko protesta) in ko niso dobili odgovora na zahteve, da se takoj začnejo pogovori s predstavniki vlade, so se pomaknili proti Državnemu kulturnemu domu. V spopadih s policijo in žandarmerijo sta bila poškodovana dva policista in šest policijskih vozil. Enajst ljudi so aretirali.

19. februarja, ki je obeleževal 140-letnico usmrtitve narodnega heroja Vasila Levskega, so se v Sofiji zgodili nasilni spopadi med protestniki in policijo. Več kot 20 ljudi je bilo ranjenih med policijskom naskokom na protestnike na Orlovem mostu. V Varni je bilo okoli 8.000 protesnikov.

Kronologija protestov v Bolgariji 19.02.2013

20. februarja je Boris Bojkov oznanil, da bo njegova vlada odstopila. O odstopu so naslednji dan zjutraj glasovali v parlamentu. 209 poslancev je bilo za in 5 proti. Borisov je rekel: ” Mandat za vladanje so nam podelili ljudje, danes jim ga vračamo, saj država potrebuje vodstvo, ki ima novo kredibilnost.”

Po Borisovem odstopu so se po celi državi osnovali odbori za državljansko pobudo.

21. februarja je okoli 500 članov združenja za boj proti mafiji izrazilo svoje nazadovoljstvo s sodstvom. Protestniki so pozvali k odvzemu imunitete in odstranitvi sodnikov, ki so sodelovali v goljufijah z zemljišči. Predsednika so pozvali, naj določi vlado strokovnjakov do sklica Velikega državnega zbora za spremembo ustave in celotnega političnega in sodnega sistema.

23. februarja so se koordinatorji demostracij zbrali v Slivenu, da bi predebatirali nadaljnje akcije po odstopu vlade. Številne člane različnih političnih strank, ki so bili prisotni, so odstranili. Zahteve po spremembi političnega sistema, prepoved vladajočih političnih strank, ukinitev DDVja na električno proizvodnjo in državno lastništvo naravnih virov so bile dodane uvodnemu pozivu za nacionalizacijo elektro podjetij. TIM, pollegalna družba, naj bi preprečila organizacijo srečanja odbora za državljansko inciativo v Varni. “Legija Rakovski”, organizacija, ki vključuje vojaške častnike in podpornike bolgarske vojske, se je pridružila protestom.

Na okrogli mizi, ki jo je organizirala Narodna organizacija svobodnih “Svobodna izbira”, je okoli 100 državljanov in NVO zahtevalo spremembo ustave, posebej 12. člena, po katerem združenja državljanov, vključno s sindikati, ne morejo imeti političnih ciljev in izvajati političnih dejavnosti. Zahtevali so tudi državljansko kvoto povsod – na ministrstvih, agencijah, vključno s sodstvom in tožilstvom, zato da lahko državljani izvajajo neke vrste nadzor nad političnim sistemom. Deklaracija, ki so jo sprejeli na okrogli mizi in tista, ki so jo sprejeli v Slivenu, sta skoraj enaki.

Zahtevo protesnikov po ustavnih spremembah so prevzeli nekateri poslanci in stranke. 22. februarja so neodvisni bolgarski poslanci začeli peticijo za sklic Velikega državnega zbora z nalogo, da sestavi novo ustavo. Tako pobudo lahko da polovica od 240 poslancev, predsednik ali državljani na referendumu. Ustava zagotavlja dva meseca za pripravo na volitve, med katerimi bi lahko vsaka politična stranka ali družbena skupina izrazila svoje mnenje glede ustave, potem pa bi jo Veliki državni zbor pripravil v kratkem času.

bolgarija occupy

Konec iluzij! Samoupravljanje. Družbena dejavnost vsak dan!

Bolgarski Veliki državni zbor (Велико народно събрание, Veliko narodno sabranie), je edino državno telo, ki lahko osnuje ustavo, sprejema novo ustavo ali spreminja ureditev države. Do sedaj je bilo v Bolgariji sedem Velikih državnih zborov, zadnji od 10.7.1990 do 12.7.1991, ki je sprejel trenutno ustavo.

Peticijo za referendum za sklic bolgarskega Velikega državnega zbora za sprejem nove ustave je pred tem leta 2010 že organizirala stranka Red, zakon, pravičnost (RZS), kontroverzna marginalna konservativna stranka.

Glede na pregled bolgarskih statističnih inštitucij je bilo zbranih 389.705 avtentičnih podpisov v podporo RZSjevi peticiji za referendum za novo ustavo. Po bolgarski zakonodaji more biti peticija, ki zbere več kot 200.000 podpisov, dana v razpravo v parlamentu, če pa sprejme več kot 500.000 podpisov je zavezujoča.

Stranka RZS je 26. februarja predlagala v parlamentu referendum na to temo.

24. februarja se je predsednik Plevenliev srečal s protestnki, ki so bili zbrani pred Ministrstvom za gospodarstvo, energetiko in turizem, pred uradnim začetkom demonstracij in sprejel njihovo odprto pismo z zahtevami, ki ga je podpisalo 35 odborov za državljansko pobudo. Protestniki so predsedniku določili rok 7 dni, po izteku katerega bodo zahtevali tudi odstop predsednika, če do takrat ne bo nobenih rezultatov.

Celotno odprto pismo z zahtevami protesnikov si lahko preberete v angleščini tukaj: http://sofiaglobe.com/2013/02/25/bulgarian-political-crisis-protesters-demands-in-english/

Če na kratko povzamemo, protestniki v pismu zahtevajo:
– da se državni zbor ne razpusti (torej nobenih predčasnih volitev)
– ustanovitev strokovnega sveta z obvezno kvoto za predstavnike civilne družbe za izvedbo zahtev državljanov
– programsko vlado
– prehod od proporcionalnega na večinski volilni sistem
– možnost odpoklica poslancev
– pravno in kazensko odgovornost za poslance in ministre
– 50% kvoto predstavnikov civilne družbe v vseh državnih regulativnih organih
– zaustavitev tožb proti državljanov zaradi neplačil elektike ali vode do ugotovitve legitimnosti le-teh
– prenos elektrodistibucije v državne roke
– preklic škodljivih pogodb, raziskovanje odgovornosti
– preklic vseh koncesij za vodo in prevzem teh funkcij s strani države

Tisoči Bolgarov, ki živijo v tujini, so podprli proteste v domovini s shodi in demonstracijami v številnih mestih po Evropi. Demonstracija je bila organizirana pred ambasado na Dunaju. Udeleženci so podprli odprto pismo 35ih odborov državljancke iniciative. Mnogi Bolgari so protestirali po ulicah Londona v znak solidarnosti s protestniki v Sofiji. Bolgarske skupnosti v Valencii, Madridu, Atenah in Münchnu so se tudi zbrale v podporo rojakov protesnikov v Bolgariji. Številni bolgarski študenti so se zbrali pred občinsko zgradbo v Manchestru in dejali, da je treba politični model v Bolgariji spremeniti.

Ker so vse stranke zavrnile oblikovanje vlade v sklopu tekočega, 41. državnega zbora, ki bi se moral zaključiti julija, je predsednik Rosen Plevenliev določil datum za predčasne volitve – 12. maj 2013. Dejal je, da “morajo biti ključne spremembe odločene v novem parlamentu.” Spremeniti vse, zato da se ne spremeni nič? Bodo protestniki in poslanci “pozabili” na svoje zahteve po spremembi ustave? Stranke so s svojo zavrnitvijo naredile ravno to, česar protestniki niso hoteli – dosegle so predčasne volitve in onemogočile razpis referenduma o Velikem državnem zboru, ki bi spremenil določene člene ustave. Cene elektrike naj bi se znižale za 8% (potem ko so se v enem letu povišale tudi za 100%). . Nek protestnik je dejal, da njegova položnica znaša 310 levov (150 evrov). Povprečna plača v Bolgariji znaša 400 evrov. Druga protestnica, upokojenka, je dejala, da ima pokojnino 80 evrov, 90 evrov pa znaša njen račun za elektriko.

V Bolgariji so se v desetih dneh zažgali trije ljudje. V Velikem Tarnovu se je moški zažgal in umrl v bolnišnici. 36-letnik iz Varne je zaradi samosežiga v komi. Nek drugi moški je bil hospitaliziran z opeklinami po 71% površine telesa. V Sofiji je moški začel gladovno stavkati in bil pridržan s strani policije.

Čeprav so bolgarski protesti dosegli odstop vlade, simbolično znižanje cen elektrike in mogoče še kaj, so problemi protestnikov po celem svetu podobni. Politika, strankarska (predstavniška) demokracija vedno najde način, da vodo spelje na svoj mlin, da se izogne bistvenim spremembam, da se ne zavzame za “navadne” ljudi. Tej odgovornosti se vztrajno izmika, dela samo simbolične korake, se pretvarja, da se spreminja z zamenjavo obrazov, kupuje čas. Toda kmalu bo tudi njen čas potekel. Če se ne zmore prilagoditi novim razmeram, je to neizogibno. Kaj k temu pripomore ustanavljanje novih strank, ki (čeprav mogoče z najboljšimi nameni) igrajo isto igro, ki so (ali sčasoma postanejo) distancirane od civilne družbe, od “navadnih” ljudi, od povprečnega državljana? Nič. (Skrajni) čas je za nove načine, ne za nove obraze.

Kot pravijo bolgarski protestniki: “Mi nismo protest, mi smo proces.” V vsakem primeru se lahko protestniki (oziroma trenutno relativno “nemočna” civilna družba) drug od drugega učimo in drug drugega dopolnjujemo, da dosežemo tisto, kar želimo – dostojno in pravično življenje VSEH državljanov in nedržavljanov VSEH držav.

PrisotnostŠteje-15o-OccupyLjubljana

februar 28, 2013

Could the practice of the latest Bulgarian protests be an inspiration to other protesters across the world?

bolgarijabalkanwakeup

Balkans wake up!

The first wave of privatization in Bulgaria took place between 1992 and 1994 under UDF (Union of Democratic Forces). Land and industry was privatized through the issue of shares in government enterprises to all citizens, but accompanied by massive unemployment as uncompetitive industries failed.

The negative reaction against economic reform allowed BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party) to take office in 1995. In late 1996 and early 1997, mass protests took place against BPS’s government which had led the country to hyperinflation and a complete crisis.

In 1997 the BSP government collapsed and the UDF came to power, the first government to serve its full 4-year term since communism. Economic reforms were carried out under the guidance of IMF, including privatization of state-owned enterprises on a large scale. The country started accession talks with the European Union (which Bulgaria joined on January 1, 2007). UDF was accused of corruption, nepotism and illegal privatizations. The majority of the charges were aimed at selling at minimum value the enterprises from the so called “Videnov list for liquidation and isolation”.

The privatization has continued up to now. In 2004 The Republic of Bulgaria sold a 67% stake in its three electricity distribution companies to E.ON Energie AG of Germany, EVN AG of Austria and CEZ a.s. of Czech Republic.

Economic difficulties and a tide of corruption have led over 800,000 Bulgarians, including many qualified professionals, to emigrate. The reform package introduced in 1997 led to rising social inequality. The political and economic system after 1989 virtually failed to improve the living standard. On the contrary, according to a 2009 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, 76% of Bulgarians said they were dissatisfied with the system of democracy, 63% thought that free markets did not make people better off and only 11% of Bulgarians agreed that ordinary people had benefited from the changes in 1989.

The protest in Bulgaria began in Blagoevgrad in late January after consumers received electricity bills that were two times higher than those for the previous month. Protesters symbolically burned their bills.

Motivation video of protests in Bulgaria

On 10 February, demonstration took place in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Shumen, Blagoevgrad, Sandanski, Silistra, Yambol, Gotse Delchev, Belene, Montana, Dobrich and Kardzhali. The same day, two EVN (EVN Bulgaria, part of EVN AG – Austrian power company) utility vehicles were set ablaze in Plovdiv. Demonstrators in Sofia gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism and threw snowballs at minister Delyan Dobrev. One protester was stabbed in Varna on 13 February 2013.

By mid-February tens of thousands of people were on the streets, demanding nationalisation of the private regional monopolies, removal of subcontractors, assigning traffic and distribution to NEK EAD (the state-owned power distribution company), declassifying all contracts between the state and energy companies and more liberal combined heat and power usage laws, among others.

On 17 February, a national demonstration against monopolies gathered 10,000 people in Plovdiv, 8,000 (up to 30,000 by other estimates) in Varna and a smaller number in other cities. In total, 150,000 people protested all over the country in 35 cities and towns. Key motorways and transport routes in the country were blocked; rocks, bottles and eggs were thrown against Gendarmerie units, the Ministry of Economy and the National Assembly in the capital. People chanted “mafia” and “resignation”, and carried slogans such as “This is not a protest, it’s a process – the struggle for a new Bulgaria”, “Down with GERB” and “Janissaries, the end is coming”. They gave the government one more week to respond to their demands. Clashes occurred near CEZ’ headquarters (Czech power company) in Sofia.

On 18 February mass demonstrations continued all over the country. In Sofia, they escalated into civil resistance and protesters attempted to attack the National Assembly. The crowds were pushed back to Eagles’ Bridge (the starting point of the protest), and after their demands to begin immediate talks with government representatives remained unanswered, they moved towards the National Palace of Culture. Clashes with police and Gendarmerie units left two police officers injured and six patrol vehicles were damaged. Eleven people were arrested.

The same day Boyko Borisov dismissed finance minister Simeon Dyankov, unpopular among the population because of his abrupt manners and strong insistence on austerity, but this did not reduce public tensions.

On 19 February, which marked 140 years of national hero Vasil Levski’s execution, violent clashes between protesters and police occurred in Sofia. Two dozen people, including Gendarmerie officers, were injured during a police charge on protesters at Eagles’ Bridge. President Rosen Plevneliev was booed at during his speech at the Levski Monument. The number of demonstrators in Varna was around 8,000.

Protests in Bulgaria 19.02.2013 Sofia – chronology

On 20 February, Boyko Borisov announced that his cabinet would resign. The resignation was voted in Parliament next morning, with 209 MPs voting “for” and 5 “against”. Borisov said: “Our power was handed to us by the people, today we are handing it back to them” as the state “needs leadership that has new credibility.”

After Borisov’s resignation initiative committees by citizens formed around the country.

On 21 february around 500 members of the Anti-mafia civic associacion voiced their discontent with the judiciary. Posters called for stripping magistrates of immunity and of ousting magistrates involved in fraud schemes with real estate. The protesters called on the President to appoint an expert government until the convocation of a Grand National Assembly to amend the Constitution and the entire political and judicial systems.

On 23 February coordinators of demonstrations gathered in Sliven to discuss further actions after the resignation of the government. Several members of different political parties who were present at the gathering were expelled. Demands for a change of the political system, a ban on all political parties in power, abolishment of value added tax on electricity production and state ownership of natural resources and strategic sectors were added to the original calls for nationalisation of the power companies. TIM, a semi-legal company, was reported to have organised a crackdown on an initiative committee gathering in Varna. The “Rakovski Legion”, an organisation of military officers and supporters of the Bulgarian Army, have joined the protests.

At a roundtable discussion, which was organized by the National Association of the Free “Free Choice” about 100 citizens and NGOs demanded constitutional change, especially of article 12, according to which citizens’ associations, including trade unions, cannot have political goals and carry out political activity. They also demanded a civil quota everywhere – ministries, agencies, including the judiciary and prosecutor’s office so that citizens can exercise some kind of control over the political system. The declaration adopted at the roundtable discussion and the one adopted at another roundtable discussion in the southern city of Sliven were almost one and the same.

The protesters’ demand for a constitutional change was adopted by some MPs and parties. On 22 February Bulgarian independent MPs launched a petition calling for the convocation of a Grand Assembly tasked with drafting a new Constitution. Such a decision can be initiated by half of the total of 240 MPs, the President or by a referendum. The Constitution provides for a two-month long procedure before elections could be held, during which each political party and social group could state its ideas on the Constitution, after which the Grand Assembly would prepare it within a short term.

bolgarija occupy

End the illusions! Self-government. Civil activity every day!

The far-right party Ataka also expressed support for the convocation of the Grand Assembly. Ataka also wanted a revision of the privatization deals, cancellation of the contracts with the power distribution companies and bringing all people who were to blame for the privatization to justice.

Bulgaria’s Grand National Assembly (Велико народно събрание, Veliko narodno sabranie) is the only body entitled to draft and adopt new constitutions and to change the organization of the state. A total of seven Grand National Assemblies have been in operation in Bulgaria, the last one from 10 July 1990 to 12 July 1991 adopting the current constitution.

A petition for a referendum on the summing of Bulgaria’s Grand National Assembly for the adoption a new constitution had been organized in 2010 by the “Order, Law, Justice” (RZS), a controversial marginal Bulgarian conservative party.

According to the inspection of the Bulgarian census authorities, there were a total of 389 705 authentic signatures backing RZS’s petition for a referendum for a new constitution. Under Bulgarian legislation, any petition backed by more than 200,000 people has to be considered by the Parliament, and any one backed by more than 500,000 signatures is binding.

The party tabled to the Bulgarian Parliament a motion for the holding of a referendum on this topic on 26 February.

On 24 February president Plevenliev met the protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism ahead of the official start of the before the announced protest and received an open letter, signed by 35 initiative committees, with their demands. The protesters set a deadline of one week after which the resignation of the president would also be demanded if there were no results.

The demands of the protesters can be viewed here:
http://sofiaglobe.com/2013/02/25/bulgarian-political-crisis-protesters-demands-in-english/

Thousands of Bulgarians living abroad supported the national protest with demonstrations and rallies held in a number of cities across Europe.

A demonstration was held in front of the Bulgarian embassy in Vienna. The participants pledged support to the open letter of the 35 initiative committees. Many Bulgarians marched the streets in London showing their solidarity with the protesters in Sofia. The Bulgarian communities in Valencia, Madrid, Manchester, Athens and Munich also rallied in support of their protesting compatriots across Bulgaria. A number of Bulgarian students gathered in front of the city hall in Manchester. They said that the political model in Bulgaria had to be changed.

The left-wing Coalition for Bulgaria Parliamentary Group declined the exploratory mandate to form a government in the framework of the 41st National Assembly, as they had stated earlier. Under the constitutional procedure President Rosen Plevneliev handed the mandate to the second largest parliamentary group on Wednesday, after GERB declined to form a cabinet on Monday. On Friday the mandate will go the third largest group in Parliament – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). The MRF have also said that they will not accept a mandate to form a government under the incumbent Parliament. If all three attempts fail, the President must appoint a caretaker cabinet, dissolve the National Assembly and, by the same decree, schedule new parliamentary elections within two months.

In less than 10 days there have been three self-immolations in Bulgaria. In Veliko Tarnovo a man set himself on fire and later died in a hospital. A 36-year-old from Varna is in a coma due to severe burns and another man has been hospitalized with burns over 71% of his body. A man who began a hunger strike in Sofia was detained by police.

Management of corrupt politicians and the alienation of people from making decisions affecting directly their economic and social prosperity inevitably leads to similar acts of civil unrest. Of course, the more important question is what happens after that. Whether it leads to phase transition into a whole new state of the system, or just as a discharge valve of social stress and the replacement of some people in a return to a power system which creates the same problems.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 the first open meeting among citizens and protesters from all the country was held in Sofia. The next meeting will be organized on Friday, 1 March. One of the protesters said, “For now we are dissscusing the short term demands, for example minimising the price of electricity and majority vote for parliament elections. There are no debates about a new system we want to live in. But I hope we start soon.”

As the protesters stated in one of their slogans, “We are not a protest, but a process.”

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