Dawn on November 13 found new-style heavy barriers and a strong police presence outside the National Assembly after a night of tense confrontation between anti-government protesters and police at the close of a day that saw arrests and a strongarm approach against the protesters.
Overnight, anti-government protesting students who earlier had considered lifting their occupation of the central campus of Sofia University instead decided to continue it. However, members of the administrative staff will be allowed on to the premises to deal with issues such as stipendia.
The night of November 12 saw some of the people in the crowd succeed in removing a few of the familiar white-painted barriers that have been encircling Parliament for the five months of protests demanding the resignation of the highly unpopular Bulgarian Socialist Party government.
Phalanxes of police were behind the barriers, in places in ranks of two or three. Some within the crowd in front of the National Assembly threw firecrackers and empty water bottles into the space behind the barriers.
Repeatedly, after fireworks were thrown towards Parliament, police began to address the crowd through a loudspeaker, but were drowned out by a cacophony of shouts, jeers, whistles and vuvuzelas.
The mood was tense after the arrests and injuries earlier in the day that followed an attempt by protesters to obstruct the cars of members of Parliament seeking to leave the National Assembly building. Police, some wearing motorcycle crash helmets and masks, responded by breaking up attempts to form human chains in the area near Alexander Nevsky cathedral.
In the last hours before midnight, police advanced in the direction of the university. Reportedly, there had been about 12 arrests by the end of the evening. By the end of the night, large street refuse containers that had been used in the earlier attempt to push a way through the barriers had been cleared away.
(Photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)