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Bulgaria: Seamen Occupy Court Building

Bourgas, 11 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Several hundred Bulgarian merchant seamen have surrounded and tried to occupy a court building in Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Bourgas.

The court is hearing a case about the bankruptcy and privatization of Bulgaria's state-owned "Ocean Fishing" company.

Our correspondent in Bourgas says the merchant seamen's union insists the collapse of the company was a deliberate operation conducted by people wanting to purchase the company cheaply.

The protesters yesterday occupied part of the office building housing the Ocean Fishing company to prevent what they say are important company documents from being carted away. The sailors say they will guard the building until the trial ends.

In recent years, Bulgarian merchant seamen have staged several protests against irregular payments of wages.