Anti-government protests turn violent in Sofia
Students denounce violence but keep protesting in downtown Sofia, surrounded by about 10,000 riot police and gendarmerie with shields, helmets, batons, and armoured vehicles.
By Tzvetina Borisova for Southeast European Times in Sofia — 14/11/13
Riot police and gendarmerie are guarding the parliament building in downtown Sofia. [Tzvetina Borisova/SETimes]
Sofia remained on lockdown Wednesday (November 13th) after clashes between protesters and riot police. Demonstrations escalated this week, as students stepped up their involvement in the action by occupying Bulgaria’s Sofia University and moving against parliament.
„I do not support violence because it can lead to human casualties and even victims… There are provocateurs among us. We try not to let them join us but they often come to the protests,“ Nevena Ivanova from the University of Plovdiv, who came to Sofia to support the protests, told SETimes.
At least one person was injured and a dozen were arrested in an outburst of violence more than five months after the start of anti-government rallies in Bulgaria.
„I have fellow students who were beaten hard, including girls,“ Ivan Polyakov, a student at Sofia’s Medical University, told SETimes.
The scuffles happened after protesters tried to break into the heavily guarded parliament building by pushing trash containers they had piled from nearby streets at the metal fence that police erected to cordon off the area.
„There were some police officers who demonstrated aggression, but not all. I believe these people should be revealed and punished,“ Yavor Nikiforov, a Sofia University graduate, told SETimes.
The protests, which had lost some momentum during the summer months, got a fresh boost as students occupied Sofia University.
The election of Delyan Peevski as head of the State Agency for National Security ignited the protests. The 32-year-old controversial media baron and a Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) lawmaker was nominated as security chief by Prime Minister Plamen O…. setimes