Bulgaria: Thousands Surround Parliament to Protest Vaccine Mandate

Policemen push protesters away from the Bulgarian Parliament building in Sofia, Wednesday, Jan. 12., 2022. Protesters opposing COVID-19 restrictions in Bulgaria have clashed with police as they were trying to storm the Parliament in Sofia. Heavy police presence prevented protesters from entering the building and some were detained. (AP Photo/Valentina …
AP Photo/Valentina Petrova

An estimated 3,000 Bulgarians gathered in front of the country’s parliament building in Sophia on Wednesday to protest the country’s Chinese coronavirus “vaccine passport” system, with some “briefly scuffl[ing] with police” during the demonstration, Reuters reported.

“Protesters, many of whom arrived on buses for the rally, pushed back a police cordon around parliament and reached the front doors of the building,” Reuters observed on January 12.

“They stopped short of breaking in and called on lawmakers to come out and address their demands. Several people, including police officers, were injured during the brief clashes,” according to the news agency.

Thousands of Bulgarians staged the demonstration on January 12 to denounce the Balkan nation’s “vaccine passports” and urge Bulgarian legislators to bring an end to the system, which one protester described on Wednesday to Reuters as an example of “medical fascism.”

The state-issued certificate shows proof that a citizen or resident of Bulgaria has received a full vaccine series against the Chinese coronavirus, recently recovered from the disease, or has recently tested negative for the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes the disease, which is known formally as “COVID-19” and informally as the Chinese coronavirus.

Bulgaria, along with several other European Union member states, currently requires the “vaccine passport” certificates for entry to most public spaces in the country. People in Bulgaria must present the so-called “Green Pass” before they are allowed entry to any restaurants, cafes, shopping malls, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, gyms, or nightclubs. The system launched on October 19, 2021.

“I am deeply affected personally because I cannot enter shops to buy the materials that I need to work with and so I can’t put bread on the table, both for me and for my family,” a Bulgarian man told Reuters on January 12 while standing outside Bulgaria’s parliament building in downtown Sophia.

“I am here also for the sake of my children and to say no to this medical fascism,” he added.

“Our children would not be able to go to school, which is against the [Bulgarian] constitution,” a woman protesting the vaccine pass system in front of the national parliament building told Reuters on January 12.

“The constitution should, in principle, be defending exactly these of our rights [sic],” she said.

The demonstrators referred to confusing policy decisions by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education and Science, which have forced most school-age children in Bulgaria to learn online since March 2020.

“As of last week, older students with COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccination certificates can also return to class, but only if at least half of the children in class meet this criterion,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported of Bulgaria’s public school policies on December 5, 2021.

“According to data from the Education Ministry, 5 percent of students of high-school age have contracted COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus]. It said its data showed 7 percent of students were vaccinated,” the U.S. government-funded broadcaster detailed.

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