Demonstrators clashed with police in front of the parliamentary building on the 40th day of anti-government protests in Bulgaria. Tension rose as protesters tried to block the exit of MPs after earlier in the day three parliamentary committees approved amendments to the Budget Act that pave the way to a 500 million leva hike in the budget deficit and the issuing of a 1 billion leva debt by the government. The changes have to be voted on first reading in the plenary hall on Thursday.
Shortly after 10 p.m. the gendarmerie tried to evacuate by bus MPs from the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, ministers Hasan Ademov of social affairs and Petar Chobanov of finance but were prevented by the protesters. A third minister, Dragomir Stoynev of economy, was also in the building. Some demonstrators were injured in the clash.
More than 109 MPs, parliamentary officers and journalists remained blocked in for hours. About 3 p.m. a second police operation was successful after a cordon cleared an exit path. The MPs from the Socialist Party and its ruling partner, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and the three ministers were evacuated in gendarmerie vans. The MPs from GERB, journalists and the rest of the people in the parliamentary building were evacuated about 4.30 a.m.