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Clashes erupt on day 40 of Bulgaria rallies

24 july 2013, 15:30
Bulgarian protesters clashed with police on the 40th evening of massive anti-government rallies in the EU's poorest country Tuesday after preventing ministers, lawmakers and journalists inside parliament from leaving the building for more than five hours, AFP reports.

Protesters barred the way of a total of 109 people -- including three ministers, some 30 lawmakers, journalists and parliament staff -- after budget revision discussions earlier Tuesday, state BNT and private bTV televisions reported.

Tensions rose shortly after 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) when police tried to evacuate some by bus.

About 2,000 protesters cordoned off the building shouting "Mafia!" and "Resign!" and stopped the vehicle.

Stones flew, breaking several windows of the bus, as police in riot gear tried to push the protesters back to make way for the bus.

Local televisions broadcast the clashes live, showing at least several injured protesters and one policeman.

Police asked the crowd including many women to back off, with protesters responding "No violence", "Murderers" and "Why do you beat our children?"

There was no official information by the police on injuries or arrests.

Up to 10,000 people have taken to Sofia streets every evening since June 14 demanding that the new Socialist-backed cabinet that took office after inconclusive snap elections a month earlier resign.

Public discontent was initially sparked by the appointment of a media mogul as head of the country's powerful security agency.

But discontent later grew into wider anger against the cabinet and politicians in general seen by many as corrupt and too easily swayed by oligarchs.

Mass protests early this year that saw eight people torch themselves had prompted the previous conservative government to resign at the end of February.

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