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Avoid rallies on 10-11 January against national park construction plans.

09.01.2018  14:01

Bulgaria: Sofia, urban centres: Avoid rallies on 10, 11 January against national park construction plans.

Members in the capital Sofia and other urban centres on 11 January should avoid protests against plans to allow further construction in the heritage-listed Pirin National Park, in the country's south-west. In Sofia, a demonstration is planned from 18.30 to 21.30 (all times local) on Patriarch Evtimiy square. Nearly a dozen other protests are planned on 10-11 January in provincial cities over the issue (see More detail, below). Recent changes to the park management plan are viewed as paving the way for a second ski lift at the Bansko resort area inside the park, a move that environmentalists oppose.

 

Advice

  • Avoid all protests as a precaution and to minimise travel delays.
  • Plan routes bypassing protest locations to minimise inconvenience. Allow ample time if travel through the area is unavoidable, as the authorities may close roads near rallies.
  • Monitor our alerts on Bulgaria for further updates.

More detail

Protesters in Svishtov (Veliko Tarnovo oblast) will gather at 17.30 on 10 January at Aleko square.

Demonstrations on 11 January include in:

  • Veliko Tarnovo (Veliko Tarnovo oblast): from 18.30 to 21.30 on Mayka Bulgaria square.
  • Varna (Varna oblast): from 18.30 to 21.30, though no exact location has yet been given.
  • Gabrovo (Gabrovo oblast): from 18.00 to 19.30 on Vazrazhdane square.
  • Pleven (Pleven oblast): from 18.30 to 21.30 on Vazrazhdane square.
  • Haskovo (Haskovo oblast): from 18.00 to 19.00 on Svoboda square.
  • Plovdiv (Plovdiv oblast): from 18.30 to 20.00 on Saedinanie square.
  • Stara Zagora (Stara Zagora oblast): from 18.30 to 21.30 in front of the Syndical House on Boulevard Tsar Simeon Veliki.
  • Kazanlak (Stara Zagora oblast): from 18.00 to 20.00 on Sevtopolis square.
  • Ruse (Ruse oblast): from 18.00 to 19.00 on Svoboda square; and
  • Pazardzhik (Pazardzhik oblast): from 18.30 to 20.30 on Konstantin Velichkov square.

Plans to further develop the park, a UNESCO world heritage site, have long been opposed by environmental groups. Protests in mid-December 2017 caused the Bulgarian government to delay the changes, before it approved them on 28 December.

 

Thousands turned out for nationwide demonstrations on 4 January opposing the decision. A counter-protest by supporters of further development in the area was held at the same time in Bankso town (Blagoevgrad oblast). This blocked the international E79 road connecting the south-west cities of Blagoevgrad and Simitli (also Blagoevgrad).