Sun, 27 Sep 2020

SOFIA -- Bulgarian police have cleared traffic blockades set up by protesters in the capital and other cities for the past week to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's conservative government over corruption, the Interior Ministry says.

The protesters had occupied three major crossroads in downtown Sofia since July 29 and August 1 as part of the biggest wave of protests in years in the EU's poorest country.

Blockades had also been set up in Plovdiv and the Black Sea port of Varna.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that 'traffic was resumed at all crossroads that had been blocked.'

No force was used and 12 protesters were detained briefly but later released, the police said.

One of the protest organizers, Nikolay Hadjigenov, vowed to 'set up the blockades again but this time in the whole country.'

Thousands have rallied every day in the capital and other cities for a month now calling for the resignation of Borisov's cabinet.

They accuse both the government and the chief prosecutor of protectionism and dependence on behind-the-scenes oligarchs.

Borisov on August 5 suggested he might take a back seat as prime minister to keep his government in power until its mandate expires in March 2021, but the government coalition decided the next day that Borisov should keep his post.

Polls this week showed severely dented support for Borisov and his conservative GERB party.

WATCH: Two RFE/RL journalists were assaulted at a rally for the ruling GERB party in Sofia, where Prime Minister Borisov was speaking. RFE/RL has called for an investigation and for Bulgarian authorities to condemn the incident.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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