Bulgaria protests to save national park spread

11 January 2018

As country takes over EU Presidency, protestors oppose ski resort and logging in Pirin

Thousands of protesters are expected tonight on the streets of central Sofia and 15 other Bulgarian cities, objecting to corruption and the illegal decision to permit a ski resort and commercial logging in Pirin National Park. It coincides with a visit of all EU Commissioners and the opening ceremony of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU in Sofia.

Street protests have been growing since the Government agreed on 28 December 2017 a plan to extend commercial construction and logging over 48% of Pirin National Park's 400sq km territory.

Simultaneous demonstrations will be held tonight in other European cities including Brussels.

Protestors, supported by a coalition of Bulgarian environmental NGOs "For The Nature" including Za Zemiata/Friends of the Earth Bulgaria, are demanding that the decision is repealed and call for the resignation of the Minister of Environment and Water, Mr. Neno Dimov.

Danita Zarichinova from Za Zemiata/Friends of the Earth Bulgaria said:
“The Bulgarian government is mired in controversy as it takes on the EU presidency, and people are taking to the streets to protest against its decision to devastate one of our most precious EU-protected national parks. People are fed up with corrupt decisions that serve private interests. The eyes of Europe will be looking to Bulgaria to set a good example and protect our right to nature for all to cherish in the future.”

The unique ecosystems of Pirin, recognised by UNESCO and protected under EU law, are home to brown bears, wolves, rare species of owls and woodpeckers, as well as more than 70 endemic plants including Bulgaria’s 1,300-year oldest tree.