Nine people were detained on June 18 during the anti-government protest in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia. Some of them carried knives and other objects banned at mass gatherings, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The nine were detained following tip-offs from protesters, the ministry said; the police also identified groups that were preparing to instigate unrest during the protests.
“The police is taking all the necessary measures to ensure a calm and secure protest. The Interior Ministry calls on all citizens to maintain the peaceful nature of the protest and disassociate themselves from any instance of violence, provocation attempts and breach of public peace,” the statement said.
The ministry said that police also identified and detained one of the people who threw projectiles at the headquarters of ultra-nationalist party Ataka on the evening of June 17.
Several people were injured by stones and bottles thrown from both sides of the police lines on the evening of June 17. On June 18, the rally avoided Ataka’s headquarters, heeding the calls made on social media; nevertheless, riot police and gendarmes once again formed a cordon around the Ataka building.
Even before the rally left its starting point at the Cabinet building, television crews zoomed in on the addition of several dozen people in the midst of the rally, identifying them as likely agents provocateurs. Other protesters appeared to give the group a wide berth as well.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)