The number of foreign cities where expatriate Bulgarians have held protests demanding the resignations of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government and of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev rose further on July 19.
In Germany, where protests were held in Berlin and Cologne in recent days, protests also were held on Sunday in Frankfurt, Mannheim, Munich and Stuttgart.
Recent days also protests outside the Bulgarian embassy in London, in central Vienna, and on July 19, in Brussels close to where Borissov was attending a European Council meeting.
Sunday evening saw the 11th consecutive protest in Sofia and other cities in Bulgaria demanding the resignations of Borissov’s government and of Geshev.
A group of organisers of the protests have called for people to gather outside Parliament on July 20 at 7am, as the National Assembly is set to debate a motion of no confidence in the government. Expected to be voted on on Wednesday, the motion is not expected to be approved, but the protest organisers regard the process in Parliament as discredited.
With the organisers also calling for people to blockade places such as major intersections, public transport and the airport, Sofia police held a briefing on Sunday saying that they would also protect the right of movement of those who were not protesting and wanted to reach their work places.
On July 19, a participant in the protests, Anton Nikolov, gave an interview to bTV detailing police assault of his girlfriend earlier in the week, an interview that followed another with student Evgeni Marchev two days earlier. On social networks, there has been amateur footage of a group of police assaulting Marchev. The police in the footage have been suspended pending an internal investigation.
In a video shot in Brussels, Borissov said that the Interior Ministry investigation into whether there was undue use of force by police during the protests would be completed by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.
“I am bitterly sorry, this has never been tolerated by us,” Borissov said of allegations that police used force against protesters.
Borissov went on in the video to stir controversy with his comments about Marchev.
“His (Marchev’s) communist grandfather never gave us the opportunity to go to study in Brussels, The Hague, London, or anywhere. At their age, when there was a Chernobyl accident and radioactive dust was spreading, they made us march to demonstrations…so, this democracy has given them the opportunity to go to study, to work, to see the world. It is time for a public debate on many topics,” Borissov said, referring to having to wear a communist youth Pioneer red scarf at the May Day “manifestation”.
Bulgarian media reports pointed out that at the time of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Borissov was 26 and a lecturer at the Interior Ministry academy. Marchev’s grandfather was a noted surgeon and, his family said, had never been a member of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
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