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Thousands protest in Bulgaria, dismissing PM’s olive branch

PTI Sofia | Updated on June 17, 2013

Thousands of people protested in Bulgaria for a third day yesterday in a show of anger against the government, dismissing the prime minister’s bid to calm public outrage by reversing a controversial appointment of the country’s top security chief.

About 15,000 protesters gathered outside the government headquarters in downtown Sofia this evening, according to police estimates. Smaller protests were also held in a handful of other cities.

Many were waving Bulgarian flags and shouting “Mafia!”, “Resign!”, and “Red garbage!” in what amounted to the biggest rallies in the past three days.

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski’s decision to appoint 32-year-old media mogul Delyan Peevski as chief of the powerful national security agency DANS and parliament’s rapidity in rubber stamping the nomination had angered the population.

Thousands poured into the streets in protest, sparking fears of a fresh political crisis just months after anti-poverty demonstrations brought down the previous government.

President Rosen Plevneliev also demanded an immediate review of the appointment, saying he had lost confidence in the government.

Peevski on Saturday offered to step down from the post and Oresharski said he accepted the resignation.

But protesters were not appeased.

Georgy Milanov, a 50-year-old doctor, who was at Sunday’s rally in Sofia with his wife, said, “We came to show the political class that things can no longer continue like that – the rich get richer while the middle class like us is being erased.”

Published on June 17, 2013

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