Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sofia 15.00

(This is still a draft. The text will be edited and pictures added)

When I left the square to go write the last post I asked the policemen guarding the entrance of the square for a comment, but was denied. In stead they referred me to the police press centre.

The policemen are staging their own protest, but at another place, in front of the interior ministry. The discussion between representants from the police and the ministry have started today, Darik claims.

On my way back I was checked. They didn't look though my bag, but believed me when I said I had the computer and a camera there. In stead they asked for my ID. I guess it's a police reflex but I didn't see the meaning of it in this situation.

At the square around 200 people were gathered. I'm lousy with numbers, this one is taken from Dariks report, but it sounds reasonable. At least 30 journalists covered the and several hundered policemen were there.

A pair of loud speakers were erected and played loud american classical pop music. It was later used for speaches, and during the meeting mostly Bulgarian songs were played. I didn't manage to understand the lyrics, but they seemed to be political.

The demonstrants were a very heterogenous group. All ages, and people from all walks in life it seemed to me. The symbols shown were Bulgarian flags, and stickers with Ser Go Home!, a campaign from the opposition directed to premier minister Sergej Stanishev.

I spoke to one old woman selling Geuvreche. She said that she agreed completely with the demonstrants, and the pension she had was 57 leva (less than 30 EUR). To survive she sold geuvreche more or less every day. The demonstrations were good business for her, especially two days ago when she had sold 100 in one hour. I bought two from her, and they were very good.

I overheard two speaches, one from the same teacher I had spoken with before and one from a priest, that angirily said that nothing has changed during the last twenty years and that money from the people go to politicians that are never seen outside electinon time.

He also took up the same demands as the boys I'd spoken to earlier – the reformation of teh elctoral system from a proportional to a mayority system, and this creating a personal relationship between voters and elected.

The priest said that at cathedral Aleksandar Nevski another demonstration was going on against the killings in Gaza, and that these people would show up at the square later.

I went to this demonstration, that was very small,though well guarded by police. To my surprise the slogan was ”Protect israeli and palestinian childeren against Hamas” and the speaker pointed out the Stanishev government as being lenient with the Hamas terrorists. One single woman were standing next to him holding a sign ”Israel kills”.

At this point I went home to do some other stuff. But I would be very surprised if the demonstrations today turn violent, and I suspect that the time is running out a little bit for the protesters.

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