Protesters clashed with security forces in Sofia on Wednesday, September 2, the 56th consecutive day anti-government protests in Bulgaria, resulting in dozens of casualties and arrests. An estimated 90,000 to 100,000 people gathered to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's government, as well as the resignation of chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev. Wednesday's protest started in the morning, with the situation escalating over the course of the day. Security forces deployed water cannon, pepper spray, and tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd, while some protesters responded with pyrotechnics, projectiles, and vandalizing of police vehicles. Footage of the event shows police arresting dozens of people, and social media sources report excessive police violence, with protesters claiming to have been beaten by security forces. While clashes between security forces and protesters have ceased, a large number of protesters reportedly remain on Sofia's streets as of 01:00 (local time). Further protests have been reported in other Bulgarian cities, including Varna and Plovdiv, with barricades erected in those cities.
Demonstrations are to be anticipated across the country and associated disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of any protest site.
Protests were sparked in Bulgaria after a raid was conducted on July 9, by the Prosecutor-General's Office on the presidential headquarters, which protesters and opponents believe was ordered by Prime Minister Borisov. President Rumen Radev's legal affairs and anti-corruption secretary and his security and defense adviser were detained for questioning and their offices searched as part of probes into alleged influence-peddling and disclosure of state secrets. The searches sparked public anger and brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets of Sofia to condemn the raids as an attack by the government and the prosecutor-general against Radev.
Those in Bulgaria are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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