Protest Network, anti-government student protesters back group held for painting partisans pink and purple

After a group of activists were arrested and charged with hooliganism for an early-morning attempt to spray-paint pink and purple a monument to communist partisans outside the Bulgarian Socialist Party headquarters in Sofia’s Positano Street, expressions of solidarity came from the “Early-Rising Students” and the anti-government Protest Network.

The incident took place on November 7, anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and in the early hours of the 147th consecutive day of public protests demanding the resignation of the Bulgarian Socialist Party government, with November 7 also seeing the 15th day of anti-government protests at 15 Bulgarian universities.

Those arrested after a police patrol saw them at 5am included well-known Bulgarian blogger and Protest Network participant Assen Genov, with the other five including people identified in media reports as activitists of the right-wing Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria, part of the Reformist Bloc, and another participant in the “Occupy” anti-government protest at Sofia University.

Legal counsel was reported to have been provided to the group by the Reformist Bloc after their arrest.

In its statement, the “Early Rising Students” declared moral support for the group who had been arrested and called on the Interior Ministry to explain the reasons for the arrest. “We demand that they be released as soon as possible,” the statement said.

By the late morning, a group in support of those arrested had gathered at the police station in Sofia where they were being held.

The DSB said in a statement that the monument in front of the BSP Positano Street honoured a criminal organisation, the Bulgarian Communist Party, as the latter was described in law.

The Protest Network hailed the “refreshing” of the sculpture group and the “original, peaceful and ironic” approach that the group had chosen to return the focus of public attention to the most important issue in the country, which was still awaiting a response: “Who?”

This is a reference to a key theme in the continuing anti-govrnment protests, demanding to know precisely who put forward Delyan Peevski to head the State Agency for National Security. The rapid election of Peevski, scion of a media-owning family whose outlets back the current ruling axis, was the catalyst for the widely-supported protests demanding the resignation of the government.

“We apologise to all decent and honest Bulgarian citizens who may feel affected by the expressive means of this action, but the responsility for it and the whole division in society, the internatonal isolation of Bulgaria and its transformation into a backyard of Europe is with a political oligarchic group that is entrenched in power and for more than four months has refused to meet the demands of citizens contained in three essential saving actions for our country – resignation, elections, Clean Hands,” the Protest Network said.

Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev told local television that the spray-painting incident was an “unacceptable act of vandalism”.

Bulgarian Socialist Party MP Anton Koutev said that it was an act of disrespect to the author of the monument, Lubomir Dalchev.





The Sofia Globe staff

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