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Bulgaria: President Meets Protesting Military Officers

Sofia, 11 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's President Petar Stoyanov met with army officers today in the second day of their protests over low wages. The protests began yesterday at the Sofia Military Academy.

RFE/RL's Sofia correspondent reports the army officers are complaining their pay raise is 40 percent lower than provided by law. The officers were expecting a 100 percent increase in wages.

President Stoyanov, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, met outgoing Prime Minister Zhan Videnov. Videnov said the officers misinterpreted the Government, and said all officers previously received a 30 percent pay raise, prior to getting the 60 percent increase. Videnov said the total increase exceeds the 100 percent raise the officers were expecting.

RFE/RL's correspondent reports Stoyanov promised the protesting officers he will exercise his authority to solve the problem. Stoyanov invited Chief-of-Staff Colonel-General Tsvetan Totomirov for a meeting later today.

State radio today reports officers all over Bulgaria are supporting the protests of the Sofia Military Academy. Our correspondent says protests also took place at some of the largest garrisons in southern and southwestern Bulgaria.