Protesters calling for the resignation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski built a wall of cardboard boxes symbolising the former iconic border between East and West Berlin outside the German embassy in Sofia – and then smashed it down.
The demonstrators, who wanted to thank German ambassador Matthias Höpfner for supporting their anti-government movement, wrote ‘Mafia’ and names of ruling parties on the outside of the boxes. Crowds were angered over perceived close ties between Bulgarian oligarchs and the new government, which has been in office since May this year.
“I don’t think there has ever been anything like it outside a German embassy,” said Reinhard Krapp, head of the political department of the German embassy in Sofia, and added that the stunt was expressive of Bulgaria’s lively civil society.
Swelling crowds of angry protesters have appeared on the streets of Bulgaria over the past month in demonstrations sparked when the new government appointed a controversial media mogul as head of the secret service on June 14.
In the face of public outrage, Prime Minister Oresharski rescinded the appointment and apologised, but the protest movement – now demanding his resignation – continues to grow.
Last week Höpfner, together with his French counterpart Philippe Autié, came out in solidarity with the protesters, and called on the Bulgarian cabinet to enter into a dialogue with the movement and to break ties with oligarchs.
Over the weekend, as the French celebrated their national holiday, anti-government crowds also thanked the French ambassador by placing a print of the Delacroix’s painting Liberty Guiding the People outside the French embassy.