40th day of Bulgarian #ДАНСwithme protests

So, today was the 40th day of protests in Sofia. I haven’t really been keeping you up to date on them, as they have really been more of the same (and by that I mean large and peaceful). I guess I’m as guilty as the media for not keeping up my effort to spread awareness about the issue. The birth of a child, with two eyes, one nose, and one mouth seemed to preoccupy millions of people. Amanda Bynes attempted to give the royal princeling a run for his money. Both, however, were orders of magnitude more important than the efforts of 65% of Bulgarians to fight for a better society.

#ДАНСwithme protests on the 40th day outside of Parliament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The #ДАНСwithme protests in Bulgaria continue. Two types of protests occur every day: the morning “coffee-drinking” outside of Parliament, and the evening protest procession around the city.

Even stories about Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach were trending higher on my Bulgaria section in Google News than about the protests. Yesterday was the first time in over a week that I saw anything new written about the protests in Bulgaria in British/American/Canadian media. The European Union’s chief justice threw her support behind the protestors, and immediately acknowledged how little her support meant by stating that the EU doesn’t interfere with national affairs. That warranted an article or two.

In any case, protesters formed a human chain around parliament, refused to let lawmakers out. This continued for about an hour, until the police brought a bus to get the members of parliament out. The protesters then surrounded the bus, and refused to let it move. At that point, the police had to use “force” to clear a path for the bus to leave. 4 people knocked their heads, or got knocked in the head.

#ДАНСwithme protests continue with the blockade of a bus carrying members of Parliament.

#ДАНСwithme protests in Bulgaria continue on their 40th day. Members of Parliament attempting to leave the building via a bus were surrounded by protestors.

So the media, which had basically ignored the protests for 40 days, finally decides to cover the protests a bit. The headlines are wonderfully sensationalist. A reputable paper has run a story titled “Bulgaria Anti-Corruption Protests Turn Violent.” And when I say reputable paper, I mean The Wall Street Journal.

Wish we had a real life Will McAvoy.

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Keep supporting Bulgaria! Photo gallery of #ДАНСwithme protests in Bulgaria, days 13 and 14

Working a full time job can be draining, and I had no energy yesterday for a blog post. That doesn’t mean nothing happened! Remember, keep up with the protests using the #ДАНСwithme hastag on Twitter and #ДАНСwithme on Facebook.

Click here for the photo gallery.

Today, over 40,000 people participated in the #ДАНСwithme protests in Sofia (I think that’s the official number, so it’s probably higher), who, according to Volen Siderov, are all “drug addicts, alcoholics, and terrorists.” He is the leader of the 4th largest party in Parliament.

Looking through the photos of the past couple of days of the #ДАНСwithme protests in Bulgaria, the protesters look like they have purpose and lots of fight still left in them. The protests are still peaceful, which is something I’m very thankful for. The protesters gather in the morning, to try to prevent Members of Parliament from getting into Parliament, and after work, to continue protesting. From afar, it looks like people are having fun. Except for the, you know, “My country’s politicians don’t care about me and are abusing power” factor that makes Bulgarians sick.

There was a photo from the 1990 Bulgarian protests in Sofia against single party rule circulating the internet today. The gist of the photo is, 23 years ago, Bulgarians turned out en masse to protest the Communist system. Bulgarians, 23 years ago, had hope that things would change, that the government would listen to the people, that living standards would greatly increase. But instead of the democracy that Bulgarians had hoped for, instead of a functioning, competitive, and advanced economy, Bulgarians have to live in a state full of crony capitalism. The government cares even less about the people now, living standards are the same as 23 years ago while the rest of the world has leapt ahead, and the mafia owns everything.

How a small group of people can hijack the hopes and dreams of many, and how they feel comfortable doing so, is, really, beyond me. I don’t want someone, 23 years from now, to say, we really had a shot in 2013 with the #ДАНСwithme protests, but we blew it, we let the oligarchy win. That’s why I’m sitting here, thousands of miles away, trying to raise awareness about this whole issue. Because the world is a rather small place. And what happens in Bulgaria is important. (In case you missed it, here is my blog post on why Americans should care about what’s going on in Bulgaria.)

Anyway, I decided to try and capture that feeling of, “Let’s not let this happen again in the next 23 years!” in a picture. Now, I’m not a Photoshop guru, so this is pretty simple.

Bulgarian protests against Communism, #ДАНСwithme protests today, future?

Hopefully history won’t repeat itself, and 23 years from now, Bulgaria won’t need another round of #ДАНСwithme

The other big news is that the MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the Turkish party in Bulgaria and the junior partner in the current ruling coalition) stated that if the protests continue for another week, they will also demand Prime Minister Oresharski’s resignation. Now, I’m not sure what good new elections will do without some changes to the electoral laws. Maybe the 49% of Bulgarians who didn’t vote will actually come out and vote now; maybe for one of the smaller parties with no ties to the current oligarchy. I don’t know what the right path forward is, but I do know that if one doesn’t take the first step, it’s impossible to reach the end of the road.

I tried to find some photos from days 13 and 14 of the #ДАНСwithme protests, so here’s a mini-gallery.

Keep supporting Bulgaria!

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A gallery of pictures from day 12 of the #ДАНСwithme protests

This post is a follow up to my post from yesterday, “America, please take notice of and help Bulgaria”. The 12th day of protests in Bulgaria came and went, and left us with a treasure trove of beautiful and striking photos. I’ve compiled a few of them here for you. Please spread the word!

Update: According to some news sources, the size of the protests in Sofia today was 50,000 people!

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