Students at Bulgaria’s oldest university, the St Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia, “occupied” the university’s largest lecture hall on October 23, demanding the resignation of the socialist-backed government of Plamen Oresharski.
The group of students started their “occupation” – as a banner hung outside the room proclaimed it – during a lecture held by Dimitar Tokushev, chairperson of the Constitutional Court.
Last week, the court ruled that Delyan Peevski, whose appointment as head of the State Agency for National Security sparked months of anti-government protests during the summer, would retain his seat as an MP, making the court a target of criticism that it ignored established legal precedent in order to curry favour with the current government.
Tokushev interrupted his lecture and exited the hall, ignoring questions about the Peevski case in the Constitutional Court. The student group remained in the lecture hall 272 – and made it clear that they had no intention to leave, making plans to stage a 24-hour sit-in, according to reports in Bulgarian media.
The university administration has made no attempt to clear the hall so far and has cancelled all classes scheduled to take place in the hall until Friday, October 25.
Georgi Bliznashki, who teaches constitutional law at the university, said that he was proud of the students and said he expected other university professors to back the protest. Bliznashki, a former socialist MP, has emerged in recent months as one of the sharpest internal critics of the current leadership of the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
Among the organisers of the protest were the three students who on October 18 briefly disrupted proceedings in Parliament, unfurling a large banner in the visitors’ gallery that read “Students ask: Don’t you feel ashamed before the Bulgarian nation?”
(The large banner reading “occupation” outside the entrances to Sofia University room 272. Photo: noresharski.com)