Bulgaria’s anti-government protests: Tent camps remain, bid to block border checkpoint

In spite of police in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia having said that they would clear away tent camps set up by anti-government protesters, these remained in place on August 9.

Protesters spent a stormy and rainy night in the tent camps, at Eagle Bridge (Orlov Most), and outside Sofia University and near the Presidency and Cabinet buildings, while the Interior Ministry statement that the tents blocking the roads would be removed did not turn into reality.

On August 9, Bulgaria entered the 32nd day of protests demanding the resignations of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government and of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev.

Bulgarian National Radio reported one of the tent camp protesters as saying: “The Sofia regional directorate of the Interior Ministry warned that it would break the blockades, but we doubted that it would happen, because if they had such an intention, they would hardly have given a warning. They would have used the element of surprise like last time”.

Tent camps in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and on the Stara Zagora -Haskovo road were removed by police in an early-morning operation on August 7. Within a few hours, protesters in Sofia re-erected their tent camps.

On August 9, a motorcade led by the “Poison Trio” group of protest organisers headed from Sofia to the Kalotina checkpoint at the Bulgarian-Serbian border, a key artery in travel towards western Europe, with a view to blocking the checkpoint to the passage of people and cars.

Those taking part in the motorcade drove at 30km/h to obstruct traffic.

Traffic Police stopped the convoy near Slivnitsa on the grounds that driving at such a slow speed creates a road hazard.

One of the “Poison Trio”, lawyer Nikolai Hadzhigenov, was reported by BNR as saying that the Traffic Police action in stopping the vehicles and checking the documents of the drivers and passengers was illegal.

Reportedly, Traffic Police told the drivers that a check would be done to see if they had unpaid fines.

(Screenshot of the protest blockade of Eagle Bridge on the night of August 8: BNT)

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