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News 04 Jan 18

Thousands in Bulgaria Protest Against Mountain Construction Plans

Thousands of people are protesting across Bulgaria against recent government decision to allow ski resort expansion at the UNESCO-designated Pirin National Park.

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
Thousands blocked the Eagle's Bridge in Sofia. Photo: Borislav Dimitrov

Several thousands people took the streets of Bulgarian capital of Sofia, with hundreds more protesting in nine more cities across the country, after the government decision to allow constructions at the Pirin National Park.

Chanting “Mafia” and “Resignation” the protesters have blocked the Eagles’ Bridge in central Sofia.

Meanwhile, supporters of the investments plans in Bansko have also staged counter-protests around the country, blocking the international E-79 road that connects southwest cities of Blagoevrgad and Simitli and, as local media report, carrying posters with slogans against the “green parasites.”

The government approved a new management plan for the natural park on December 28 allowing construction of a second gondola cabin lift in Bansko, Bulgaria’s largest skiing resort, by the company managing the resort, Yulen.

Both citizens and environmental groups were actively opposing a government plan raising fear it would allow for extensive construction and logging.

In December, US celebrities joined the global campaign for saving the Pirin National Park from construction and felling, organised by WWF-Bulgaria.

The government previously postponed adoption of the controversial plan, set for December 13, amid street protests in Sofia.

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