The latest in a series of protests against construction in the protected area at Karadere on the Black Sea coast took place in Sofia, Plovdiv, Rousse, Varna and Bourgas on March 30 – while in a number of seaside small towns and villages, there were “counter-protests” in favour of construction projects.
The protests on the Karadere issue arise from a deeply controversial decision by the Bulgarian Socialist Party cabinet to give “Class A” investor status to Madara Europe, which intends a three-hotel and resort accommodation complex at Karadere, with construction planned to begin in September 2014.
Outraged by a move to build in one of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast’s remaining relatively unspoilt natural beauty spots, environmental conservation groups are demanding reversal of the cabinet decision and for legislative changes to protect sites in Bulgaria in the EU’s Natura 2000 nature conservation network from construction projects.
Sites for which conservation activists especially want protection are Karadere, Irakli, Strandzha, Kamchiya and the dunes at Nessebur.
According to a March 30 report by bTV, while the protests against construction were held in Bulgaria’s five largest cities, there were numerous “counter-protests” at the coast, by village residents, landowners, developers and hunters, who argued that the legislative changes sought by environmentalists would prevent the development of the region and deprive them of their livelihoods.
Protests were held from Byala on the northern Black Sea coast to Tsarevo in the south.
“Counter-protesters” complained that environmentalists were camping illegally on their lands while at the same time making demands that would drive away investors and hinder business and tourism.
The BTV report quoted Milen Dimitrov, a construction worker from Gabrovo, as saying that if construction was prohibited, “we would be left without bread”.
(Photo of Karadere: Svilen Enev)