Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bulgarian Protesters Clash With Police In Front Of Parliament Over COVID Restrictions


Protesters scuffle with police as they try to enter Bulgaria's parliament building during a rally in Sofia against government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus on January 12.

Protesters opposed to Bulgaria’s COVID-19 restrictions have clashed with police in front of the parliament building in Sofia as the country notched up a record number of infections from the virus.

Protesters were able to break through a police cordon in the unrest on January 12 and make it to the stairs of parliament before being pushed back.

Eight police officers were injured, the Interior Ministry said.

Some protesters then moved to the Council of Ministers building and the Ministry of Health but were contained by police.

Bulgarian Far-Right Protesters Try To Storm Parliament During Rally Against COVID Restrictions
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:00:42 0:00

Around 1,000 supporters of the nationalist Vasrazhdane (Rebirth) party, which holds 13 seats in parliament's 240-seat chamber, attended the protest.

They said they would remain in front of parliament until their demands for an end to mandatory face masks and so-called green vaccine passes are met.

Anti-pandemic measures require Bulgarians to show a health pass proving vaccination, recovery from infection, or a recent COVID-19 negative test to get into such venues as restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, and gyms.

People are also required to wear masks indoors and on public transport.

Bulgaria is the least vaccinated country in the 27-member European Union, with only a third of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

To incentivize vaccinations, the new centrist government has offered 75 levs ($43.59) to pensioners who get fully vaccinated or receive a booster.

Bulgaria is experiencing a fifth wave of coronavirus infections driven by the omicron variant, with the number of cases reaching a record high of 7,062 on January 12.

The virus has killed 89 people in the past 24 hours in the country, according to official numbers.

With reporting by AP, dpa, and
  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Bulgarian Service

    RFE/RL’s Bulgarian Service relaunched in 2019 after a 15-year absence, providing independent news and original analysis to help strengthen a media landscape weakened by the monopolization of ownership and corruption.