Bulgaria protesters block parliament in Sofia unrest

  • 23 July 2013
  • From the section Europe
Protesters in front of Bulgaria's parliament block a bus trying to leave the building
Image caption Demonstrators reportedly threw stones at a bus trying to leave the building

Protesters have blocked the doors of Bulgaria's parliament amid mass daily rallies against government corruption.

More than 100 politicians, journalists and staff have been trapped inside the building, local media said. One report said they had been there for five hours.

Demonstrators clashed with riot police in Sofia, the capital, on the 40th day of anti-government rallies.

Earlier the EU's Justice Commissioner said she backed the protesters.

Viviane Reding, who was in the country for a live question and answer session, said on Twitter: "Here in Sofia today, my sympathy is with the Bulgarian citizens who are protesting against corruption."


Tensions rose outside the parliament on Tuesday after ministers discussed budgetary changes.

Crowds surrounded the building shouting "Mafia!" and "Resign!" and prevented a heavily guarded bus from leaving with MPs on board, local media said.

Several protesters and at least one police officer have reportedly been injured.

Image caption Demonstrations have now taken place in Bulgaria for 40 days
Image caption Protesters sat on the floor in front of the bus to stop ministers from leaving the parliament building
Image caption The unrest became violent and police tried to keep protesters back

Bulgaria - the poorest EU member state - has been in political turmoil for months. The current government took office after a snap election in May.

For five weeks it has seen big protests against the coalition government, with thousands of people taking to the streets in Sofia and other cities.

The demonstrations erupted over the controversial appointment of a media mogul, Delyan Peevski, as head of the national security agency.

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, who heads a Socialist-led coalition, later revoked the appointment and apologised, but the protests continued.

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