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The protests are a contagion that cannot be stopped

15 July 2013 / 21:07:05  GRReporter
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Furthermore, I have noticed a tightening in the ranks of the government whose behaviour has become very arrogant. For example, the ambassadors of France and Germany came out with a quite unprecedented joint letter in which they actually support the protesters and the President's position. The reaction of part of the government was like in 1983. They described the letter as interference in the internal affairs of Bulgaria.

The gap which I previously mentioned is becoming even greater. One of the sides is governing without ever being interested in the others whereas, on the other hand, the protesters are not ready to compromise.

What will the outcome of the protests be in your opinion? Formally speaking, we can say that they have succeeded since Delian Peevski’s appointment was withdrawn. However, the goals have gradually increased. Which of them could be implemented in practice in order for the people to unite around it and to achieve it?

In fact, the goal of the protest has not been achieved because, from the first evening, the people have been shouting "resignation" outside the building of the Council of Ministers. They are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Oresharski and Peevski was only the reason for this demand.

Very often we hear some analysts and representatives of the government saying, "What do these cheerful and colourful people in the streets want? They do not have a specific goal." However, it is very specific, namely resignation.

From this point onwards, there are a few options at least. The first is for the government to continue to persist, which means that it will continue to take power and control. This is necessary, of course. Bulgaria needs a government.

On the other hand, my prediction is that the protests will not stop. They may subside for a while because it is summer - a season which active people use to rest. But this tension cannot just disappear. This means that the protests are likely to slightly subside and to start with renewed vigour in September. Therefore, it was clear from the outset that this government was gone. It is only a matter of time for this to happen since so many people want it to resign. A month later, however, it seems to me that this time can be surprisingly long.

How would you comment on Edvin Sugarev’s hunger strike? What is the point of this kind of protest?

Let me not comment on this topic. This is a very serious personal decision and I do not feel comfortable commenting on it.
 
What is your opinion of what you have already mentioned, namely that several ambassadors of European countries have openly expressed their position in support of the protests? How do you define the response of the government that this is interference in Bulgaria’s internal affairs?

I would define it as inadequate. Bulgaria is part of the European Union. Over the past 20 years, the declared goal of all Bulgarian governments has been for the country to be a part of it and share the same values. Bulgaria has signed a pile of documents that establish the rule of law, democracy, etc. So, I do not know why some are surprised by this position. Someone has to defend the values ​​for which the European Union exists. Once you do not see anyone in the government to do so, the ambassadors are completely right.

But even if we look at the matter from a more cynical angle, this is about the money of the taxpayers and they mention this in their letter. This is because the majority of European Union (EU) funds that come to Bulgaria have been taken from the pockets of Germans and Frenchmen. And when you have an oligarchic model of government and much of the EU funds go to certain companies associated with certain parties that are in power, then they are perfectly right to ask where their money goes and why the ordinary citizens of Germany and France who are working and paying for their taxes should feed the mafia in Bulgaria. The question is reasonable.

How do the Bulgarian media cover the protests? Reading them, one thinks that the articles are about two different countries. What is your comment on the way in which different media present the same events?

The gap which I have mentioned exists in this field too. On one side, we have the government which does not really understand what is happening and the fact that the majority of the public is awakening and the people are starting to assert their rights. Some of the media, which present a fictional situation which we do not see in Bulgaria, are on this side too.

However, the good news is that the main and major media seem somehow freer over the past month. One can now mention the words "mafia" and "oligarchy", and talk about Peevski. Previously, this person was not mentioned anywhere.

This means that there is a little more freedom and I am hopeful because the people know that the manipulative media which show a false situation are actually false. And I think their influence is insignificant whereas the mainstream media behave much better actually.

The President has supported the protests but criticism against him followed from both sides. Some media have published discrediting materials about him whereas others are criticising him for not doing anything substantial to support the protests in practice. How would you comment on this?

Tags: PoliticsBulgariaProtestsGovernmentIvan Bedrov
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