35 arrested, 38 given medical treatment amid ‘national uprising’ clashes in Bulgaria’s capital

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said that 35 people were arrested during clashes in capital city Sofia on September 2 as anti-government protesters tried to breach a police cordon around the National Assembly, holding its first sitting of the autumn session.

Thirty-eight people, including protesters and police, were treated by emergency services for various injuries, Sofia emergency services head Dr Georgi Gelev told an afternoon briefing.

Of the 38, six people were admitted to hospital.

The injuries came as protesters threw various objects, while police responded with pepper spray.

Among the injured was Bulgarian National Television reporter Nikolai Minkov, while a BNT cameraman was among those hit by pepper spray. Minkov was treated at Tsaritsa Joanna hospital in Sofia.

The incidents came after more than 50 days of protests in Sofia and other cities in Bulgaria, demanding the resignation of the Boiko Borissov government and of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev, as well as early elections and machine and remote voting.

The protests in Bulgaria have been spurred not only by the main demands, but also by deep-seated frustration about a failure to establish the rule of law, to act effectively against corruption and to sever the ties between questionable business interests and political leaders.

Borissov has accepted the resignations of a few ministers, a move which did nothing to mollify protesters, and has put forward a hastily-drafted new version of the constitution along with a proposal to convene a Grand National Assembly. By September 2, it remained uncertain whether the latter proposals would muster sufficient votes in Parliament to go forward.

The September 2 protest was billed by organisers as a “grand national uprising”, who in the late afternoon claimed more than 9000 people were taking part.

(Main photo via the Facebook page of one of the groups organising the protests, the ‘Poison Trio’)

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