Police Prevent Protestors from Reaching Rossenets Beach for Scheduled Protest

ESD 12:55:01 11-07-2020

Bourgas, on the Black Sea, July 11 (BTA) - Police Saturday
prevented people from reaching by sea and land the Rossenets
beach on the southern Black Sea coast to participate in a
scheduled protest. The police action was apparently prompted by
their attempts to prevent clashes between protestors and
counterprotestors which had come the day before.

Adjacent to a property with a marina and a palatial home known
to be used as the summer residence by Movement for Rights and
Freedoms (MRF) founder Ahmed Dogan, the obscure Rossenets beach
came in the focus of political tensions in Bulgaria on July 7
when the leader of the non-parliamentary opposition Democratic
Bulgaria coalition, Hristo Ivanov, and two fellow party members
tried to reach it by boat but were pushed off by National
Service for Protection bodyguards assigned to protect Dogan.
Ivanov said the purpose of their "boat trip" was to show that
Bulgarian people are not allowed to use a piece of land that
belongs to them and that Dogan enjoys some kind of privileged
status which includes violation of the law. The Ivanov incident
was livestreamed on Facebook, attracting some 1 million views
and causing a strong public outcry. The idea for a boat-trip
protest to the Rossenets beach on Saturday was born out of that
and organized on the social media.

What happened on Saturday when the Rossenets protest was due,
was that the participants came to find thousands of MRF
supporters already there. To provent clashes between the two
groups, police did not allow the protestors to reach the beach
by land. At the same time MRF supporters kept off shore those
who had come by sea.

An angry Hristo Ivanov told reporters that they had all
necessary clearance for the protest and had been expressly told
that no other protest had been planned for the same time and
place. It turned out that MRF, too, had notified the local
authorities that they were going to protest at Rossenets at the
same time.

Hristo Ivanov and his party left Rossenets to protest outside
the Bourgas Mayor's office for failing to prevent provocations.
He came back shortly, accompanied by Mayor Dimiter Nikolov
(GERB) who told the reporters that he had not been aware of the
MRF event and that police made a mistake by not allowing the
other group to reach the beach.

TV footage from the event showed that in brief clashes between
protestors and police, Ivo Mirchev and Hristo Ivanov from the
Yes Bulgaria movement, part of the Democratic Bulgaria
coalition, were arrested.

Later in the day at a briefing in Sofia Interior Minister Mladen
 Marinov said that Prime Minister Boyko Borissov had ordered the
 detained persons at Rossenets to be released.

Due to the clashes and arrests at the Rossenets protest rally,
the head of the Bourgas police, Senior Commissioner Radoslav
Sotirov, handed in his resignation. The decision for Sotirov's
resignation was made after a meeting of Prime Minister Boyko
Borissov and Interior Minister Mladen Marinov. However, after an
 analysis of the situation conducted later in the day, Marinov
said Sotirov's resignation will not be accepted.

In the meantime, Bourgas Mayor Nikolov talked with protestors in
original schedule rally at Rossenets, as a result of which
access was provided to them to reach the beach. The protestors
were escorted by police via an alternative way so as to avert
clashes with the MRF supporters in the area. Some of the
protestors lied down on the sand and invited the MRF supporters
to join them.

Shortly after 4 p.m. the participants in the rallies started to
leave the beach.

Later on Friday, the press office of the MRF released a video
showing how MRF Chairman and floor leader Moustafa Karadayi and
Dogan thank their party supporters who had come to the Rossenets

In the video Karadayi said that the aggression that was shown at
 the rally was against the MRF "because Dogan is the symbol of
the party". "Together all of us managed to avert this aggression
 scenario. To our great regret, we see that the State is absent.
 The head od State fails to understand what the institution of
the President means and instead is waging personal battles,"
Karadayi said.

The MRF leader also said that GERB allowed the escalation of
tension at the rally. "What happened causing the two flows to
mingle was done by the executive power, the gendarmerie, and the
 Bourgas mayor, who is deputy chairman of GERB. They sought to
cause provocation in order to hide behind us because there are
many problems in this country that need addressing," Karadayi
said. NV/LN, ZH

Source: Bourgas, on the Black Sea