Several thousand Bulgarians joined in the June 14 2014 anti-government protests themed #DANSNoMore, marking a year since the beginning of the protests and with just days to go before the expected fall of the Bulgarian Socialist Party cabinet.
The motto of the protest, which in Sofia began outside the cabinet office and proceeded to the parliament building and Eagle Bridge, was “it’s time to finish this”. Protests also were held in Bulgaria’s cities of Plovdiv, Varna and Bourgas.
June 14 2013 saw a huge protest, initially organised on Facebook in an appeal to which many thousands responded, after the ruling axis that had come to power just a few weeks earlier elected controversial figure Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security.
That appointment was rescinded, but the protests – themed #DANSWithMe as a play on the Bulgarian abbreviation for the name of the State Agency for National Security, continued to draw broad public support as the initial low level of credibility of the government formed with the mandate handed to the second-ranked BSP plummeted even further over the months.
The crisis that has appeared to finally sound the death knell for the current cabinet was sparked by the BSP being thoroughly thrashed in Bulgaria’s May 25 2014 European Parliament elections.
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, key partner in the ruling axis, has proved the catalyst in calling for early elections. The BSP also has acknowledged that early elections will have to be held, while far-right ultra-nationalists Ataka, which helped keep the ruling arrangement in place, also has called for early elections, and on June 13 voted against the cabinet in a failed vote of no-confidence tabled by centre-right opposition GERB, Parliament’s largest party and also the victor in the European Parliament elections.
In contrast to the months of the DANSWithMe protests, which had no partisan identity, minority parties such as the centre-right opposition Reformist Bloc took part as a contingent in the June 14 2014 DANSNoMore protest, bearing party banners.
Several of the protests held posters with the question, “when?”.
President Rossen Plevneliev has convened a meeting on June 17 of the Consultative Council of National Security, at which a number of pressing national issues will be discussed, including the date of an early parliamentary election. There are expectations that the cabinet will resign either later the same day or on the following day.
(Photos and video: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)