Bulgarian protesters plan to occupy parliament

By bne IntelliNews July 20, 2020

The informal organisers of the ongoing Bulgarian protests demanding the resignations of the government and chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev plan to occupy the parliament building on July 20 in an act of civil disobedience, hoping to provoke an early election as the biggest political crisis in the country for years continues.

Tens of thousands of people have been protesting for eleven days and their number is constantly rising. The protests have gained also support from Bulgarians living abroad who were gathering for days to also demand the resignations of Geshev and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

Despite that, both Borissov and Geshev insist they will not resign and claim protests were organised by President Rumen Radev, who is their fiercest critic, and paid for by fugitive gambling mogul Vassil Bozhkov.

In an attempt to force them to resign, protesters plan to occupy the parliament in the early hours of July 20 and stay until the government and Geshev resign. Protesters are also planning to block courthouses.

Meanwhile, Borissov reportedly has a hard time at the meeting of EU leaders this weekend where, according to Dnevnik news outlet, the country lost ground as the prime minister was unable to negotiate the desired sum to help it recover from the coronacrisis.

Borissov has said he will undertake serious consolidation steps after the meeting in Brussels and that negotiating a significant sum is a top priority at the moment. He has also repeatedly said that his government is the only one that can take the country through the economic crisis successfully.

On July 20, Borissov’s third government will face a no-confidence vote, which was filed by opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party after the protests started. As the ruling Gerb party has enough support, the vote is expected to fail.

Protests were sparked by an attempt by Hristo Ivanov, one of the leaders of opposition Democratic Bulgaria, to get to the state-owned beach near the summer villa of controversial politician Ahmed Dogan earlier in July. Ivanov published a video showing that he was pushed into the water by guards from the state security services. Dogan was not entitled to be guarded by them as he does not hold any public post. Moreover, the state-owned beach should be accessible for everyone.

After the video was released, President Rumen Radev was the first to confirm Dogan was guarded by the state security services and insisted on an investigation why this has been allowed.

A day later, chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev organised an action movie-style raid of Radev’s offices, and the special prosecution arrested two of his advisors on unproven suspicions for trade of influence. The raid rocked Bulgarians as it was seen as an assault on the presidential institution and proof of Geshev’s dependence on the ethnic-Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) whose chairman of honour is Dogan.

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