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Bulgaria Protests Target Politics of Business as Usual

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013

They have been overlooked by the international media, whose gaze has been fixed on Tahrir Square in Cairo and Taksim Square in Istanbul. But Bulgaria’s ongoing anti-government protests, which entered their 50th day last week, are indicative of a broader disillusionment with the political and economic elite seen all over Southeastern Europe. The concept of a state “captured” by business interests may resonate well beyond Bulgaria’s borders. The question is whether real change to how politics and the economy are run will come about.

The demonstrations are Bulgaria’s biggest since 1997, when economic crisis brought citizens to the street and led to the government’s ouster. At the peak of this summer’s demonstrations, a siege of parliament led to deputies being trapped in the building overnight; on another occasion, a bus carrying politicians was surrounded by protesters, who refused to let it pass. ...

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