Thousands march calling for Bulgaria government to quit

A man holds EU flag during an anti-government protest held in front of the Parliament building in Sofia, Bulgaria,03 October 2020. [Vassil Donev/EPA/EFE]

Thousands of people marched through the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Saturday (3 October) calling for the government to quit, the latest in a series of such protests.

The protesters, most of them young, gathered in front of the parliament, shouting “Resign!” and “Mafia”

“Europe heard us and saw us!” lawyer Nikolay Hadjiguenov, one of the march organisers, told the crowd.

On Wednesday, the European Commission expressed its concern over the independence of the judiciary in Bulgaria, the lack of progress in the battle against corruption there and what it said were threats to the independence of its news media.

Jourová: Bulgarian government should take the protests very seriously

The European Commission Vice president for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, voiced clear support for the ongoing anti-corruption protests in Bulgaria on Wednesday (30 September), saying that the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov should take them “very seriously”.

For the past three months, there have been regular demonstrations at which protesters have called for the government to resign. Recent polls suggest that more than 60% of the population support them.

But the country’s centre-right Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, in power for nearly 10 years, has refused to step down before the end of his mandate next March.

The European Parliament will hold a plenary discussion on Monday on the Rule of Law and Fundamend Rights in Bulgaria and a Resolution will be voted on Thursday. A very critical draft resolution was passed by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) last Thursday.

Before  the discussion on Bulgaria the European Parliament will discuss the establishment of an EU Mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights. The philosophy of the mechanism is to link the disbursement of EU funds to the respect of rule of law in member states.

Sculptor Vladislav Minekov, one of the “trio” organizing the protests, will be at the official entrance of the European Parliament in Brussels from 16.30 CET and will be available for interviews.

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