Jun 22, 2013

Bulgaria - Protest, Day 8

Random moments from the 8th day of the protests in Sofia, Bulgaria. (21.06)

This old woman is one of the most colorful participants that I've met since the beginning of the protests. Regardless of her age she showed exceptionally energetic how she would sweep the garbage that have been gathering in some of the surrounding buildings.
"Is there a power to put you in the prison."

St. Nedelya Church, April 16, 1925

Hopefully, but hardly (possible)

"I stand in front of political parties headquarters!!!
BGN 30 per day + two sausages
/ +BGN 50 for the boss /"

(You can read the translation of the undercover journalist investigation about people paid to stand in front of the ATAKA headquarters.)

Young active citizen is trying to remove the police tape :)

Bucket full of sh.t
"It's too late, "(you are covered) to your ears!

"You broke our impudence-meter. Go away!

We met once again the old woman 2-3 km later ...

... and she was again showing energetically how she will sweep with the broom.

This is not a protest of young people, but of the public-spirited citizens who had enough of lies.

You can find the original article and video here.
And this is the translation of the article made by a friend, Gavril Gavrilov:
"Are there paid supporters in front of (political) party headquarters?

Our (BNT - Bulgarian National Television) reporter Rossen Tsvetkov managed to enter “under cover” into one such “scheme”. 

Let us see what sort of promises and instructions he received, as well as which party’s headquarters he was led to, in order to sit for hours and create a crowd.

“The day is Tuesday, in Sofia’s residential quarter “Ovcha Koupel”, several hours before the next mass protest in Sofia. I find myself in a group of young people, who have received an offer, in the gym where they work out, from a man, going by the name “Danny”, to participate in a protest in exchange for 30 leva (15 EUR). They say Danny works as security for some establishment (bar, restaurant or night club). They explain to me what is expected of us.
“You sit there, have a cup of coffee, and you go home”.
“You are there for the numbers (for the count)”.

We meet with the Danny in question, he speaks of himself as one of the organizers. He has our names put down in a list. He explains that his fee is higher than ours. He receives a bonus for the additional people he brings in.

“We give 30 (leva). Depends on the number (of people). Us organizers - we get 50.”

“Well 30 is good, what... bro(ther).”

“You don’t do anything, bro”

“You’ll see what “bulls**t the whole thing is.”

“You only sit, no shouting, no nothing. You don’t shout.”

“You just sit there and look (leer).” You sit on the curb and you sit around, bro.”

Danny takes us, a little before 18:00, to the space between the Parliament and the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, where there are already hundreds of muscular, young men, some of them - colleagues of his from the security job.

“Did you take their names down?”

They are having conversations away from us, which we have no way of hearing”.

Danny leads us through the side streets, and we arrive at the Ataka ( “Attack” or Ataka Political Party) headquarters, while we receive more important instructions on the way.

“If journalists ask you “Are they giving you money?”, watch out so that somebody doesn’t say “Yes they are giving”.

“What are you doing here? - Touching our d***s - that’s what we’re doing”.

“You’re not going over there where the other crowd is - to go and shout and throw stuff”. “We sit here on the side, you sit with me. You’re not going down with the crowds- these - Levski Zapad (Levski South - extreme football hooligans). They are still with us, but you don’t go there to fight and so on.”

“Tell them whatever you want, just don’t say that they give (us) money.”

“Get some (playing) cards - play cards. Whatever you want to do.”

“When it’s all over - is that when we go to see you for the money?”

“Yeah yeah”

The blocked street is split in half by the car from which the leader of Ataka is giving speeches. We pass without problems. We have to stay only on one side, watched closely by Danny, who, as visible from our recording, knows well all of the people gathered there. This man, speaking to Danny, was seen in the blocked zone on Monday. He was there today, in front of the President’s Office. Our group grows with more young men, led by Danny. The “buffer zone”, where the access is restricted, we can closely hear the speeches. Danny is in the company of the people, he was having a conversation with earlier. We just sit around for four hours. Around 22:00 it becomes clear that the protesters are headed towards the Ataka headquarters. THey tell us to get up.

(Unclear profanity)

Thanks to the police force, the protesters don’t reach our point and there is no further tension that night. After one hour, we learn that we will receive the money on the next day, and now we are only to be reimbursed for the taxi ride home.

“So now Dankata (Danny) will pay for the taxis. How many people are we?”

“Now they just come here and count us, and tomorrow at noon we get the money. Dankata will give them to me”.

They begin a check following the lists. They are counting us”.

(Man counting to 15)

“Tomorrow you’ll call me for this?”

“I’m waiting for my money.”

“I’ve given you 26 leva (13 EUR), come together as a group.”

While Danny is placing us in the taxis, he is discussing the list.

“How many people do I have under my name? Take a look at the list”
“In the end I have 6 people. Me, four (others) and Tasev.”

“The whole scheme bro...Today it was easy...Yesterday was completely different.”

“Yesterday they wanted your name, you had to show....

“They don’t ask for your ID Card, you tell them your EGN (PIN - Personal Identification Number), do you understand?”

“We’ll sort them out with the PINs, we’ll sort everything out.”

The next day they tell me that there is a new requirement - men have to weigh above 95 kilograms ( ~ 210 pounds). There is no way for me to go, because I don’t fit the new criterion. I decide not to take the 30 leva for the 6 hours of sitting around either.

To sit around in one place for 6 hours and to get paid for it, is actually not a crime, according to the criminal code. Its a question of choice and morals."
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