bulgaria corruption protests
Protests against what many called “state capture” and “mafia-style” rule were held in several other cities in the Balkan country. "We have to get rid of this mafia and create a civil society which will be more vigilant towards the next leaders," he tells AFP on Sofia's iconic Eagles' Bridge, the focal point for many of the protests. Summers should be relaxed, with vacations at the seaside and little interesting news. Europe. The anti-corruption protests that have been roiling in the streets of the Bulgarian capital Sofia for the past six weeks have united people from across the country and all walks of life. The anti-corruption protests that have been roiling in the streets of the Bulgarian capital Sofia for the past six weeks have united people from across the country and all walks of life. The group has coordinated street blockades, traffic go-slows, even tomato-throwing at certain politicians -- anything to try to keep momentum going. “This is a hopeless attempt to stay in power for a bit longer,” said Bakardzhiev, the communications specialist. Police arrested 18 people late Friday after scuffles during the anti-corruption protests, but the demonstration Saturday was largely peaceful. To trigger a Grand National Assembly and rework the constitution, the government needs support from more than two-thirds of the deputies, or at least 160 lawmakers in the 240-seat parliament. A vast majority of Bulgarians — 80 percent — see graft as widespread and another 78 percent think the only way to succeed in business is to have political connections, according to a 2019 Eurobarometer poll on corruption. Both protesters and the opposition dismissed Borissov’s proposal to revise the constitution as a smokescreen to buy his government time. "Mothers are hostages and don't have any choice but to leave work" in order to care for their children, says Ivanova, sporting a black T-shirt with the name of the NGO she co-founded with other mothers: "The System Is Killing Us.". Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. “My son has been living abroad for the past 10 years. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. She says she can't afford the renovations to her house needed to accommodate her son, who has cerebral palsy. Bulgaria’s prime minister is under mounting pressure to step down as protesters take to the streets across the country in an outpouring of anger at his failure to control government corruption. Dozens of people, including police and journalists, were taken to hospital, and several protesters were detained. The protest was styled as the "grand national uprising" to mock Borissov’s plan to convene a Grand National Assembly, a type of super-parliament with extra lawmakers, to rewrite the constitution. Protesters responded with chants of "Geshev is a disgrace!" Protesters in Sofia, Bulgaria, on July 29. The faces of the protesters are as diverse as the country itself and they all share one aim: forcing the resignation of conservative Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as a first step to cleaning up public life. Corruption widespread in Bulgaria . The protests in Bulgaria clearly open the debate whether the rule of law remains the central shared value for all Europeans. Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov remains defiant in the face of anti-government protests Corruption crisis puts Bulgaria’s Borissov on the ropes President Rumen Radev says EU can no longer keep its ‘eyes wide shut’ on Bulgaria’s rule-of-law problems The bearded, blue-shirted Ivanov says the incident was the final straw for many Bulgarians. His GERB party said Radev, who was nominated for the post by opposition Socialists, was stoking a political crisis. But in July, following accusations of corruption and state protection of the mafia, protests broke in on the streets of Bulgaria. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. The health and social care systems are in urgent need of reform and "corrupt to the core," she says. GERB remains Bulgaria’s most popular political party, according to opinion polls. The EPP also counts German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as a member. Public anger escalated following prosecutor raids on the offices of two of the Bulgarian president’s staff as part of investigations, which many saw as a targeted attack on President Rumen Radev, a vocal critic of the government. He has become part of a group of protesters who will brook no compromise with Borisov's government. They comprise NGO workers, lawyers, IT experts and others who have created a space to exchange ideas which they compare to the famous Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park. "EU funds are being syphoned off under their noses and they are pretending not to notice," he says, pointing out that Borisov's party belongs to the powerful centre-right European People's Party (EPP) grouping. Frustrated with what he saw as the prevailing lethargy in Bulgaria, he and two friends became an activist trio who throw out suggestions for new protest actions. Ana Dimitrova, a 51-year-old doctor at the protest, wanted a change in leadership. At the beginning of Wednesday's parliamentary session, President Rumen Radev once again called for the resignation of Borissov’s Cabinet, which he previously described as a “mafia government.”. “It wasn't the lack of a new constitution or a Grand National Assembly that drew the people to the streets, but rather the lack of morality in government … and the corruption,” said Radev, who was nominated by the Socialist Party and is a vocal critic of Borissov's government. Riot police and protesters clash in Bulgaria as corruption crisis deepens. Reading awkwardly from a scripted text, Borissov announced his plan to “restart the country” by offering a list of reforms, including halving the number of parliamentary deputies to 120, and overhauling the judiciary. On Wednesday, he cobbled together support from 127 lawmakers, which will enable him to at least begin debates on a new constitution, even if he knows he can never ultimately build a full quorum for a GNA. “The state of democracy has been deteriorating for years,” said Boyan Bakardzhiev, a 35-year-old communications specialist, who attended the protest on Wednesday. Georgi Georgiev, 47, is a small business owner from the country's north-west, the most deprived region of what is anyway the European Union's poorest country. Protesters say the move was a sign of toxic links between the ruling elite and shady interests in the Balkan country. Demonstrators have gathered in Sofia every evening since early July to protest a decline in the rule of law and state capture by oligarchs. The mother of a 25-year-old disabled son, Vera has been in the streets demanding the removal of an elite she says has "stolen" her life. Borissov, whose third government took office in 2017, prided himself on building new highways, boosting people’s incomes and getting the country into the euro zone’s “waiting room,” and said he does not plan to step down amid a looming coronavirus crisis. Police arrested 18 people late Friday after scuffles during the anti-corruption protests, but the demonstration Saturday was largely peaceful. and "Out with the mafia!" It is precisely those areas that are most in need of EU development funds, but many residents complain they never see the benefit of the cash. So, the anti-corruption protests in Bulgaria and the fight of Bulgarian civil society for rule of law and democratic reforms are everybody’s business. Those who have had to return because of the pandemic "cannot tolerate the arrogant impunity of the 'untouchable' elite," he says in front of a protest camp between the presidency and government headquarters. That seems out of reach given that two opposition parties refused to support it. The demonstration was organised after the head of a small liberal party was denied access to the coast by armed guards of the National Protection Service, who were protecting Dogan. Borissov, the leader of center-right GERB party, has dominated the political landscape for more than a decade. The rally started early, at 8 a.m., and was planned to coincide with the Bulgarian parliament returning to session after the summer break. At the risk of oversimplifying things, Bulgaria’s mass protests can generally be divided into social movements and, distinct from this, protests against establishment corruption. Because of the high-level corruption, governmental abuses and the lack of judicial independence, Bulgaria demonstrates that national check and balances are not working. While the beach is ostensibly public, in reality access is controlled by a well-connected lawmaker, and a fracas soon played out between Ivanov and the politician's security. | Valentina Petrova/AP. At another demonstration Saturday on the Black Sea coast near Burgas, hundreds of Bulgarians demanded access to a public coastline near the summer residence of Ahmed Dogan, a businessman and senior member of the ethnic Turkish MRF party.


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