Anti-vaccine protesters try to storm Bulgaria’s parliament

Tension escalated an hour after nearly 3,000 people gathered in front of Parliament House to demand the removal of a mandatory health pass, which they said trampled on their rights and was a means of a backdoor. forcing people to get vaccinated,

The protesters, many of whom arrived in buses for the rally, pushed back the police cordon around Parliament and reached the front door of the building.

They barred entry and called upon the MPs to come out and fulfill their demands. Several people, including police officers, were injured during the brief clash.

Waving the national flag and flags of the ultra-nationalist revival party that organized the rally, he raised slogans of “Freedom” and “Mafia” and denounced all measures against the virus.

“I don’t approve of green certificates. I don’t approve that kids are being stopped from going to classes. I don’t see the logic of these things,” 39-year-old engineer Asparuh Mitov told Reuters at the start of the rally. ,

Bulgarians are required to wear masks indoors and on public transport and show a health pass to people who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative for the virus to visit restaurants, cafes and shopping malls and gyms.

Bulgaria, the country with the least immunization in the European Union, reported a record high daily infections on Wednesday, driven largely by the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Kirill Petkov, who took office last month and pledged to vaccinate the Balkan country, told BTV channel he was sorry he could not meet the protesters but was prepared to do so on Friday, when their quarantine will end. Petkov, President Rumen Radev and senior ministers went into self-isolation on Monday after a participant in a security meeting tested positive for the coronavirus.

He reiterated that the health pass would not be removed.

“At this point in time, when cases are rising, and with the number of people vaccinated and the link between health passes being understood, it cannot be removed,” Petkov said.