Monday, 29 July 2013

Ongoing Social Protests In Bulgaria

Over the past six weeks there has been a wave of social protest in Bulgaria. These protests are driven by economic frustrations and a feeling that political corruption and oligarchism are responsible for the economy's failings. The protest movement reveals a number of contradictions. Whilst left-wing anti-capitalist currents participtate in the protests they are led primarily by a young, professional urbanites. As is common in the 'post-communist' world they often see the inefficient and corrupt state as being the source of their problems and some are drawn to an idealised vision of a free-market economy. Unlike many of the protest movements in Southern Europe the protestors tend to be pro-EU and leading EU politicians have openly expressed their sympathy for the demonstrations. 

An interesting article by Claudia Ciobanu from Inter Press Service discusses some of these issues: 

For more than six weeks now, Bulgarians have been on the streets demanding an end to oligarchy and corruption.
Under the label DANSwithme, inhabitants of Bulgarian capital Sofia have been taking to the streets every day since Jun. 14. The protests were sparked by the Socialist government’s decision to appoint 32-year-old media mogu Delyan Peevski head of the national security services (DANS).
Despite Peevski’s snap removal following the public outcry, Bulgarians have continued protests to demand resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski. On peak days, crowds are in the tens of thousands.
Urbanites, often youth and professionals, have vented their anger and also celebrated the rather new experience of street action. They are a colourful bunch, bringing along kids, often wearing theatrical costumes, using art installations to send political messages, and broadcasting it all on social media. Read More......

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