Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bulgarian protesters lay siege to parliament in Sofia

Demonstrations in Sofia form part of wave of street political campaigning in Turkey and the Balkans
Ian Traynor
The Guardian

Six weeks of largely peaceful anti-government protests in Bulgaria turned violent on Wednesday when demonstrators laid siege to parliament, threw stones and clashed with police evacuating the building.

For more than 40 days, thousands of mainly young middle-class protesters in the capital Sofia have been venting their disgust with a political class seen as corrupt and ineffectual and demanding the resignation of a government only months old.

Parliament in Sofia remained closed and under heavy police guard on Wednesday, following hours of siege by demonstrators who tore up pavements to build barricades blocking all the exits from the building.

Around 100 MPs and parliamentary staff were trapped inside until police intervened to evacuate them on buses around 3am. Some 20 were injured in clashes.

"Police reacted very adequately, policemen did their job perfectly although protesters behaved extremely aggressively," said the interior minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev.

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