Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Bulgaria on Tuesday, Independence Day, calling on the prime minister and the chief prosecutor to step down over allegations they allowed an oligarchic mafia to seize control of the Balkan country.
The predominantly young protesters say they want real steps to limit corruption and are fed up with the ruling style of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov who has been at the helm of three consecutive governments since 2009.
Protesters, who have the support of some two thirds of the population, according to latest opinion polls, want the date of parliamentary elections moved forward from the scheduled one in March.
Police presence in the center of the capital, Sofia was beefed up after protest organizers said Tuesday’s gathering would turn into a new “great national uprising”.
Riot police cordoned off government buildings.
Although all previous rallies in recent months have been mostly peaceful, there have been occasional clashes with police and some arrests.