Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry: 126 arrested during ‘national uprising’ protests

A total of 126 people were taken into custody by police on September 2, the “grand national uprising” day against Bulgaria’s government and Prosecutor-General, according to a statement in Parliament by Interior Minister Hristo Terziyski.

The day saw confrontations between police and participants in the protests, which drew several thousand people to the centre of Sofia as Bulgaria’s Parliament held its first sitting of the 2020 autumn session.

In the early hours of September 3, police removed the protesters’ tent camps that for weeks had been blocking traffic at Eagle Bridge (Orlov Most) and in front of Sofia University.

Cleaning companies cleared away debris left behind from the previous day’s protest, including broken bottles, stones, tomatoes and remnants of fireworks. Steam jets were used to clean traces of eggs on the walls of Parliament.

The tent camp set up by the women from the “The System Is Killing Us” movement remains in front of Parliament, but has been moved so as not to obstruct traffic in the vicinity of Dondukov Boulevard.

Police prevented protesters from getting near to the access point for MPs to Parliament.

The clashes that had taken place on the morning of September 2 resumed in the night, with cobblestones among the objects thrown at police.

At about 11pm, a water cannon was brought to the scene, but it was not used. Members of the media were among those teargassed during the confrontations.

Speaking in Parliament on September 3, the 57th day of the anti-government protests in Bulgaria, Terziyski, said that tensions had risen at about 9am the day before as some of the protesters threw numerous objects at police. He alleged that pepper spray had been used against police.

He said that objects thrown at police included chairs, stones, bottles, benches, scooters, bicycles, road signs and flags.

Terziyski said that the decision to remove the tent camps had been taken because video evidence had shown that “dangerous objects” were stored in them.

He said that of the 126 people arrested on September 2, a total of 62 had police records. Thirty-five had registered addresses outside Sofia.

Sixteen fast-track criminal proceedings had been instituted, 12 for hooliganism, one for injuring a police officer and four for damage to property.

Eighty police had been injured, Terziyski said. Injuries included fractured limbs and chemical burns from pyrotechnics and gas.

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