On the 22nd of September, 2013, the Bulgarian nation marked the anniversary of its independence.
In the city of Veliko Turnovo, several civilian police officers demonstrated how that hard-fought independence can be trampled under foot, along with the Bulgarian Constitution, as they tore up one of the protesters’ banners and refusing to legitimize themselves.
The Protest Network strongly condemns such measures and finds them absolutely unacceptable, and in direct contradistinction with core European Union citizen and democratic rights.
The limitation of the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and peaceful protests cannot be allowed. This once again exemplifies the levels of hypocrisy within the levels of government and is yet another piece of evidence of their anti-democratic and repressive behaviour.
We demand that the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office must investigate this form of police repression, which is happening in broad daylight to a member-state of the European Union.
We demand that those officers of the law involved are held accountable and those who had given the orders – investigated. We will signal a complaint, as according to the given law, and will will notify the relevant European institutions of the situation.
We call on the staff of the Interior Ministry and the police to refrain from issuing such illegal orders and in carrying out their duties – to strictly follow the set rules and regulatios. As their duty to serve and protect the law, they must refrain from neglecting citizens’ rights and thereby ignoring the core values of Bulgaria’s constitution; they must also refrain from becoming an instrument of fear and panic.
We once again call out to all Bulgarian citizens and ask for their vigilance and opposition to a government, which claims it “overpowered fear”, but its actions show nothing more than attempts at a repressive mechanism of power.
The indiscrete banner, which was so forcefully ripped apart by police officers, read thus: ‘Through Resignation, towards Independence”. This is the only reasonable stand towards this illegitimate government.
Protest Network, 23.09.2013