Groups of students at 15 higher education institutions in Bulgaria are now involved in the anti-government “Occupy” protest that began two weeks ago at Sofia University and that have won widespread public support in the country.
A recent poll by Alpha Research said that 60 per cent of those polled backed the student protests.
Students from the 15 universities – in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Rousse and Bourgas – have endorsed a declaration by the “Early Rising Students” group saying that by their protest actions, “we are building the future…creating a constantly expanding community of young and determined people that will be a corrective to any subsequent government and the National Assembly, regardless of its composition. We believe that the time is ripe to conduct a broad public debate about a new social contract”.
Meanwhile, local media said that students taking part in the occupation of part of Veliko Turnovo University had been threatened by unknown provocateurs, allegedly armed.
Apart from verbal insults, one of the provocateurs who attempted to rush into the hall had a firearm tucked into his belt, students told reporters.
Students called on the university management to take emergency measures, adding that “such threats would not work” and the occupation would not end.
The student occupation of a central campus building of Sofia University began with demands for the immediate resignation of the current Bulgarian Socialist Party government, fresh elections, and moral reforms in politics and society.
Soon after the “Occupy” campaign began at Sofia University, the campus in Bulgaria’s capital also saw an attempted invasion by provocateurs seeking to end the occupation. Alongside the group, that included ultra-nationalist supporters and that attempted to break into the university building, was a BSP MP, Boris Tsvetkov.
The counter-campaign against the student protests has emphasised its view that the participating students are denying others’ right to education. A sign-in petition to this effect was started on November 6.