Bulgaria anti-government protesters take to streets for eighth day

Sofia (AFP)

Thousands of Bulgarians protested in the capital Sofia for an eighth consecutive day Thursday to demand the end of a government they accuse of corruption and favouritism towards oligarchs.

A day after Prime Minister Boyko Borisov sacked his ministers of finance, economy and the interior, more than 18,000 mostly young demonstrators blocked traffic in the city centre and pressed for the premier’s resignation.

Demonstrators in Bulgaria have protested for eight straight days
Demonstrators in Bulgaria have protested for eight straight days NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV AFP

Critics accuse the government led by Borisov — who has dominated Bulgarian politics since 2009 — of favouritism towards oligarchs in a country where politics and big business are inextricably linked.

The protests in Sofia and other cities were sparked by the exposure of alleged government privileges and protections enjoyed by business people and former politicians, and have drawn support from across the political spectrum.

Thirteen years on from accession to the European Union, Bulgaria remains the bloc’s most corrupt member, according to Transparency International’s corruption perception index.

Borisov has refused to resign. His current term in office is due to end in early 2021.

Next week he will face a no-confidence motion in parliament launched by the opposition Socialists though the measure stands little chance of success.

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