Indignation draws thousands to the streets of Bulgaria’s capital in rule-of-law protest

Everyone had a reason to be there, this balmy July evening of protest in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

To a degree, three disparate protests merged, to an extent, into one. The first protest began in the early afternoon, and another in the early evening. Events moved from outside the Presidency office, to a procession to the Parliament building, and in scenes reminiscent of the Peevski protests of 2013/14, to the iconic Lion Bridge in the centre of the capital.

The evening was the culmination of many things.

The actions of the Prosecutor-General and his office. The statements of the President. The vulgar Facebook post of the current Justice Minister, Danail Kirilov, dismissing a predecessor, Hristo Ivanov, as “Spongebob Squarepants”. The impregnable seaside mansion of one Ahmed Dogan, where Ivanov had landed on a beach in a stunt to illustrate that point in the Bulgarian constitution that beaches are, for ordinary folk, pregnable.

It was an event that exposed the shortcomings of some media. They made it about the President, Roumen Radev. Some media coverage portrayed it only as a protest in defence of him.

Hristo Ivanov landed on a beach and was shoved off by armed guards who, as it turned out from a statement by Radev, are on the public payroll, employees of the National Security Service. They shoved off a citizen from a public beach, in defence of someone who, whatever else he does, occupies no public elected office.

(Photos: Kamelia Dimitrova)

The rest of this article is available exclusively to subscribers to The Sofia Globe’s Patreon account:

Become a Patron!

Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Clive Leviev-Sawyer is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Sofia Globe. He is the author of the book Bulgaria: Politics and Protests in the 21st Century (Riva Publishers, 2015), and co-author of the book Bulgarian Jews: Living History (The Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria 'Shalom', 2018). He is also the author of Power: A Political Novel, available via, and, on the lighter side, Whiskers And Other Short Tales of Cats (2021), also available via Amazon. He has translated books and numerous texts from Bulgarian into English.