Police Clash with Demonstrators in Downtown Sofia; Tension Escalates

January 15, 2009 by  
Filed under News

police-sofiaThe Police have clashed with the demonstrators in downtown Sofia and are trying to disperse them by using force, the Darik radio reporters said mid-day Wednesday.

There are reports of Police beatings, Police in special gear using teargas and batons, people covered with blood, being pushed out of the square and dispersed into the neighboring streets. The protesters have responded by throwing rocks and snow balls. A number of police cars have been damaged. There are reports of several arrests.

The Darik radio reporter further said that the 1,800 policemen literally “smashed the demonstrators”, adding that many of them have already left, but some are still before the Parliament shouting “Resignation Now!!!” and fighting the Police. 

The violence was allegedly triggered by football fans trying to remove guarding fences and throwing them at the Police. Some policemen have been injured by flying rocks, bottles and homemade bombs, often used during football matches.

There are also reports that the demonstrators have attacked the Parliament building and have broken some door glass.

The Darik radio reported that the Police was ordered to disperse the demonstration after they received a bomb threat stating that a homemade explosive device would be detonated on the square before the Parliament.

The signal has been received through the hotline of the Main Directorate “Criminal Police” and has been, reportedly, sent by an internet site administrator. The Interior Ministry has forwarded a letter to the Sofia municipality to notify them about the threat.

As a consequence, the Deputy Mayor of Sofia Yulya Nenkova, has issued an order to disperse the protest rally. The decision has been made after a 30-minute phone call between Sofia’s Mayor Boyko Borisov and Chief Police Commissar Pavlin Dimitrov.

About 3,000 representatives of student, environmental, rural, retiree, parent, youth, medical and other organizations have gathered Wednesday in front of the building of the Bulgarian Parliament in Sofia to demand the resignation of the Cabinet and voice many other requests.