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Bulgaria: Opposition Demonstrators Smash Windows During March

By Assen Guechakov

Prague, 3 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Opposition demonstrators in the Bulgarian capital Sofia today smashed windows at the headquarters of Bulgaria's ruling Socialist Party.

An RFE/RL correspondent reports some of the demonstrators threw stones at the building, smashing windows, and there were some minor scuffles with police stationed outside the building.

Participants in the rally told the correspondent that the Bulgarian opposition should follow the example of the Serbian opposition and protest day and night, because "Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is nothing compared to the ruling Bulgarian communists." The Socialist Party is the ex-communist party.

Today's trouble came during a rally called to show support for the opposition's economic plan aimed at reviving the country's shattered economy.

The economic document, called "Plan To Rescue Bulgaria", was issued by the main opposition Union of Democratic Forces, and two other opposition parties.

It demands new leadership for the National Bank, early general elections, and the formation of a multi-party parliamentary group that would replace government officials in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

The document was to have been discussed today in the Socialist-dominated parliament but parliamentary debates were postponed. New debates on this subject are to be held within seven days after 59 opposition deputies called for an extraordinary plenary session.

Earlier today Georgi Parvanov, the Socialists' newly elected party leader, said his party must seriously consider several opposition demands. Parvanov however said the Socialists will not consider the opposition demand for early parliamentary elections because the move would "lead to political instability."