Weary of promises, Bulgarians protest against Covid curbs, inflation

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About 1,000 Bulgarian demonstrators gathered in downtown Sofia on Wednesday to protest against curbs imposed to combat COVID-19 and rampant inflation at a rally organised by the opposition ultra-nationalist Revival party.

Holding banners reading “I want a normal life,” and “COVID is a tyranny, not a pandemic” the demonstrators booed as Prime Minister Kiril Petkov addressed them.

Bulgaria, where scepticism about vaccines and entrenched distrust of government institutions has meant fewer than one in three adults are inoculated against the coronavirus, has seen infections drop in recent weeks after they peaked at the end of Janu-ary, prompting the government to start easing re-strictions.

But Wednesday’s protesters demanded that the compulsory health pass to access leisure venues and testing for the virus in schools as well as wearing of face masks in enclosed spaces be scrapped immedi-ately.

“First the green certificates: they say they will lift them. This is a promise I do not believe,” said teacher Galya Nedialkova, who also criticised the sharp rise in prices. “How do you think people on the minimum wage are living?… I am here because I am angry.”

Annual consumer price inflation, fuelled by a spike in energy costs, jumped to a 13-year high of 9.1% in January. The government has frozen elec-tricity prices for households and sees inflation eas-ing in the second half of 2022.

Petkov’s centrist government took office in De-cember after widespread anger over high-level cor-ruption ended the more than decade-long premier-ship of Boyko Borissov.—Reuters

 

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