SOFIA: Anti-riot police broke up a protesters’ blockade of Bulgaria’s parliament on Wednesday and escorted out over 100 ministers, lawmakers and journalists who had been trapped inside for over eight hours.
Policeman with shields pushed away the anti-government protesters and formed a tight cordon barring all access to the stately building in downtown Sofia at around 3 a.m.
Media correspondents trapped inside parliament, confirmed that ministers of economy, finance and labor as well as other lawmakers from the ruling Socialist party and their loose partners from the Turkish minority MRF movement were escorted out first.
The building was fully emptied by 5 a.m. (2 a.m. Manila time) when heavy construction machinery started removing the protesters’ barricades made of park benches, garbage containers and paving stones.
An earlier attempt to free some of the besieged lawmakers late Tuesday had ended up in skirmishes between the 2,000 protesters and police, leaving at least eight protesters and two policemen injured, hospital sources said.
The clashes were the first violence seen in 40 days of massive rallies in the European Union’s poorest country that demanded the resignation of the new technocrat cabinet that took office in May after inconclusive snap elections.
Parliamentary speaker Mihail Mikov called for a cancellation of Wednesday’s session of the legislature and slammed the violence.
“Order must be guaranteed. Lawmakers cannot be turned into targets, their life and health cannot be put in danger,” an outraged Mikov told state BNT television.