New Year’s Eve 2016 in Bulgaria: No Specific Threats and Relatively Cold

Written by on December 31, 2016 in Bulgaria, Latest - No comments

This year, almost all winter holidays are weekends, including January 1st. But Bulgarians are lucky, since their parliament just gave them January 2nd. This applies if January 1st is a Sunday, which is the case in 2017. So, any hangovers can be dealt with, by sleeping all day long on Monday.

In Bulgaria, the weather on New Year’s Eve 2016 is mixed. Daytime temperatures will range between 5 degrees Centigrade in the north-western part of the country, and -2 degrees in the very south. In most of the south, it will supposedly be snowing.

More good news? Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova said there was no specific information on any terrorist threat in Bulgaria. Yes, in 2016, this qualifies as good news.

The minister also said Bulgaria was keeping a “code yellow” level of alertness anyway. This includes more security measures than on usual days. Baggage at airports will be checked more at train stations, airports and bus terminals. The police will also stop vehicles on the roads, for checks.

Most Bulgarian police officers will probably not be able to celebrate the new year, since they will be on duty. According to the ministry in charge, police presence is being stepped up in the cities and the winter resorts.

In the center of Sofia, security will be tight: No stopping, no parking, no large bags may be carried, no glass bottles either. And whoever seems intoxicated, will not be admitted to the party at Battenberg Square (around the Ivan Vasov Theater). Anyone with fireworks will be sent back as well.

This year, after the terrible terror attacks in Brussels, Nice, Berlin and elsewhere, the increased security level has been visible all along. Several police officers were seen at larger events with many people, such as the German Christmas Market. At Sofia Airport, policemen from a special division were seen carrying machine guns.

Looking at everything we know, including travel warnings published by foreign ministries (which often reflect at least parts of the content of secret security briefings high-level politicians are getting), we have to come to the conclusion that nobody will be truly safe in 2017, no matter what country they are in.

New Year’s Eve 2016 ends a year full of terrible wars, brutal Islamist terror attacks, and losses in the world of artists. For Bulgaria, 2016 was difficult in different ways. The weak did not get stronger, the next political crisis was triggered and new challenges came up.

By Imanuel Marcus

 

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