Bulgaria: Police protests and EU visitors to cause chaos on Thursday

Written by on January 10, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria: Police protests and EU visitors to cause chaos on Thursday

On Thursday, many VIP guests will arrive in Sofia for the official opening ceremony of Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency in the heart of the Bulgarian capital. This means there is a big security plan, and the police is obviously part of it.

Countless police officers will be working, in order to make sure the guests are secure. But the day will be far more complicated than that. This is the situation:

> Several streets will be blocked for regular because of the arriving VIP guests.

> The closure of streets will most likely lead to a traffic jam of epic proportions.

> Even pedestrians might have to take deviations, due to blocked streets.

> VIP guests need to be transported from the airport to hotels, to the National Theatre and back to the hotels.

> The opening ceremony at the National Theatre is a security nightmare in the sense that it requires a lot of police.

> On top of it all, the police will stage protests on that very active day.

> Apart from the police protests, up to seven more demonstrations will take place.

According to the Bulgarian authorities, the security plan for Thursday is based in flexibility, meaning police officers who are not protesting, but working, will likely be driven from one place to the next spontaneously, wherever they are needed.

Police officers in Bulgaria are not being paid well at all. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

Some protesting officers will be at Tsarigradsko Chausseee, the city motorway the EU Commissioners will be using to get to the centre from the airport. Many officers will also be protesting around the National Theatre, once the guests go there for the ceremony in the evening.

All of the above will make Thursday complicated indeed. At the same time, the protesting police officers do have a point.

They want higher salaries. On a large billboard printed by the a Bulgarian police union, they pointed out in English that the monthly salary for a Bulgarian cop is 340 euro, or less than 700 leva. Officers who have more qualifications than required might earn up to 500 euro, or around 1000 leva.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, who used to be a high-ranking cop himself, expressed his outrage today, when one of those billboards was taken down from a strategically good spot right in the centre of Sofia. “Anyone who has anything to say (on billboards), can say it”, Borissov said.

He even offered advertising space belonging to Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency to the police union. The union declined saying they would rather have a chat with Borissov than “talking through billboards”.

Whatever might happen in that regard, the police union will bring its message across during the Presidency. Later this month, on January 25, when EU Interior Ministers are expected in Sofia, they will restart their protests.

The union wants a retroactive 15% salary increase. And they don’t care about the chaos they might be contributing to on Thursday.

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com