New protest rallies took place on Saturday evening in Bulgaria against the election of a controversial young MP as security chief even though he claims he is ready to step down.
Smaller-scale protests took place in the bigger cities too.
More than 63 000 people had signed the rally Facebook page.
Just hours earlier on Saturday Delyan Peevski, a controversial media tycoon and member of parliament from the ethnic Turkish party, sent a letter to all media in Bulgaria to announce he was ready to withdraw from the post of Head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security (DANS).
“I accepted to carry out the duties of DANS Head on behalf of Bulgarian citizens. Again on their behalf, I am ready to accept a decision of the 42nd General Assembly to revoke my election.
This act is a show of our shared responsibility – mine, of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, and the leaders of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Sergey Stanishev and Lyutvi Mestan,” Peevski writes in the letter.
The surprise appointment of Delyan Peevski to head Bulgaria’s powerful national security agency DANS on Friday drew fury from the president and brought thousands of protesters to the streets.
Large protest rallies were held Friday evening in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo, Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad, and Shumen among others.
According to official data of the police, over 10 000 gathered in the capital.
The rally in Sofia was held under strong police presence with key buildings – of the presidential administration, the government and the parliament, surrounded by metal fences.
Nova TV reported that cell phones have been silenced and internet communication has been very difficult.
Former GERB Regional Minister, Lilyana Pavlova, and former GERB Economy and Energy Minister, Delyan Dobrev, have been spotted among the demonstrators, despite Borisov’s “order” banning attendance of popular GERB figures.
Former leader of the right-wing party Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, Martin Dimitrov, also joined the rally, which was reported as peaceful and without incidents.
Demonstrators from all ages, including families with small children, people with their pets, and groups of young people held banners, blew whistles, waved the national colors, and shouted against the mafia, Oresharski, and the leader of BSP, Sergey Stanishev.
The rally later moved to the Parliament and later to the key Eagles’ Bridge intersection, which was blocked by the demonstrators.
They did not allow a crew of TV7, a media linked to Peevski, to broadcast footage from the protest, forcing them to move to the balcony of a nearby hotel.
Around 10 pm, the protesting people split with a few staying on Eagles’ Bridge and the others returning to the parliament.
The rally ended around midnight Friday.
On Friday, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev canceled his participation in the inauguration of the second Danube Bridge linking Bulgaria and Romania after the shocking election.
He criticized it strongly and urged the parliament to “immediately” retract its decision.
Speaking on public TV Friday evening, the President reiterated his outrage from the move and confirmed he has lifted his trust from the Cabinet “Oresharski.”