Police officers prevented a man from setting himself on fire outside the building of Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) on July 11, while the council was in session inside.
The man, identified as Chavdar Yanev, has spent more than a month in a tent outside the SJC building, protesting against what he calls the “judiciary mafia”, reports in Bulgarian media said. He had threatened to self-immolate before, the reports said.
Yanev has reportedly been embroiled in a 12-year legal battle with the Sofia utility company Toplofikatsiya, winning a lawsuit but unable to collect his damages. Toplofikatsiya, meanwhile, won a lawsuit against his wife, according to Bulgarian media.
Last week, Yanev was reported to have gone missing, leaving a note that had his relatives worried he might be considering suicide, but he later returned to his family. Unlike previous times, Yanev did not warn that he would try to set himself on fire but proceeded to pour fuel on himself; he was prevented from self-immolating by police warned by eye-witnesses, the reports said.
Bulgaria saw several cases of self-immolation in February and March, during the protests against the high costs of living and a sudden increase of electricity bills, which swept Bulgaria and led to the resignation of the Boiko Borissov government. At least three people died as a result of setting themselves on fire, in three different cities and towns.
(Screengrab from Bulgarian National Television)