COVID-19: Anti-vaccine protesters attempt to storm Bulgarian parliament

Protesters oppose COVID-19[female[feminine The restrictions in Bulgaria clashed with police on Wednesday as they attempted to storm parliament in the capital Sofia.

A heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were arrested. Several people, including police officers, were injured in the clashes. Eventually, the demonstrators were driven back and the police cordoned off the building.

The violence erupted during a protest rally against the mask and vaccine warrants organized by a nationalist group which fiercely opposes the Bulgarian government’s anti-epidemic measures.

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Police officers line up as they attempt to drive protesters away from the Bulgarian Parliament building in Sofia on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
(AP Photo / Valentina Petrova)

“The aim of the demonstration is to remove the restrictive measures and above all, first of all, the unconstitutional green certificate,” said Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the Vazrazhdane party, before the demonstration.

The nationalist group, which holds 13 seats in the 240-seat chamber of parliament, has won support from opponents of the coronavirus restrictions.

The nearly 1,000 demonstrators, who waved national flags and sang patriotic songs, remained in the plaza outside the National Assembly, saying they planned to stay there until their demands to abolish the National Assembly. mandatory masks and green passes are satisfied.

Police officers attempt to drive protesters away from the Bulgarian Parliament building in Sofia on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria clashed with police as they attempted to storm the Parliament in Sofia.  A heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were arrested.

Police officers attempt to drive protesters away from the Bulgarian Parliament building in Sofia on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria clashed with police as they attempted to storm the Parliament in Sofia. A heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were arrested.
(AP Photo / Valentina Petrova)

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Bulgaria, which is facing a new wave of infections, is the least vaccinated country in the European Union of 27, with only a third of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Speaking from his home, where he is quarantined for contact with an infected person, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov called for calm and invited representatives of the protesters to his office on Friday to discuss their demands.

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