Interior Ministry Assigns Probes into Police Brutality following Media Reports
Sofia, July 13 (BTA) - Sofia police chief Senior Commissioner
Georgi Hadjiev told a news conference here on Monday that probes
have been assigned under the Interior Ministry Act to establish
"the objective truth" in response to media reports about the
use of excessive physical force by police officers during the
protests in Sofia in recent days.
The probes will conclude within a month. If police officers are
found to have committed disciplinary infractions, they will be
Hadjiev demanded that the Interior Ministry be given enough time
to establish the objective truth in its entirety and the
persons involved in the respective situations. The probe's
results will be announced to the public.
The Sofia police chief said that no arrests were made during
Sunday's protests. His deputy, Anton Zlatanov, called on
citizens to not allow themselves to be provoked by small groups
of provocateurs. He noted that there were such provocateurs at
the Sunday protest and congratulated the people for not giving
in to their actions, adding that the police's job is to maintain
Protests against the Government and the prosecuting magistracy
started on Thursday after prosecutors raided the President's
administration building and arrested security advisor Iliya
Miloushev for disclosing a state secret and his legal affairs
and anti-corruption secretary Plamen Uzunov for trading
in influence. The arrests came a day after President Rumen Radev
came out with a position that Movement for Rights and Freedoms
honorary chairman Ahmed Dogan and MP and media mogul Delyan
Peevski should not be entitled to protection from the National
Protection Service (NSP).
Tensions at the anti-government protest on Friday ran high. Two
protests were held in central Sofia in close proximity to each
other. The first one was in front of the President's building
against the prosecuting magistracy and Cabinet, while the second
protest was held in front of the Council of Ministers by the
ruling GERB supporters. There were clashes between protesters
and the police. Footage taken by protesters and posted on social
media show how police dragged and kicked people who had
allegedly thrown bottles at law-enforcers.
Footage showing an act of police violence during Friday's rally
in Sofia was published on Sunday. Reportedly, Bulgarian Evgenii
Marchev, a second-year law student in The Hague, was beaten up
and arrested. His parents claim the man was held for six hours
at the police station before he was sent to an emergency
hospital. Marchev was suffering from concussion and had multiple
bruises on his chest. His father said the student passed out
three times at the police station.
There were protests on Saturday in the Rossenets park, near the
coastal city of Bourgas, where protesters gathered near Ahmed
Dogan's palatial residence, located near a public beach to which
access was previously restricted by NSP staff protecting Dogan.
There were clashes between the police and protesters there as
well. The Sunday protest in Sofia was held without any clashes
with the police.