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Bulgaria: Day and Night

Bulgarian protests

At Occupy Wall Street there used to be the Morning Bell March and the Closing Bell March. Also in Bulgaria the beginning and the end of the day are marked by protest.

The evening march is the main event, no doubt. It attracts thousands of protesters, it targets the government as a whole and its main slogan is ‘resignation!’ The morning protest only drums up a few dozen people, it targets the parliamentarians individually as they arrive at parliament in their fancy black Mercedeses. The main slogan you will hear is ‘Mafia! Mafia!’

Both protests have their own spaces, and every space has its own encampment. The evening protest takes place in front of parliament, where there is the main camp around the monument with the piano, the banners, the slogans, the cross, the plastic swimming pools and the communications tent. Today, while others staged their morning coffee protest, there was yoga all around the equestrian statue.

The morning protest takes place at the back of parliament, in the park, where there is a small camp with a handful of tents, and four park benches in a square under a gazebo, giving it a living room type of feel. Every evening I drop by there to speak to the locals and catch up on the latest news, rumours, accusations, conspiracy theories, etc. Then I usually go back to the main camp, for the live concert.

Yesterday, a second piano had appeared. A small one, without a wing. There was an old man who sat down to play. Beethoven. You wouldn’t believe it. From a classic start he took his listeners on a tour of musical history that had people dancing the charleston and the polka before he arrived at jazz, at rhythm and blues, at swinging 1950s rock and roll. Truly, the man smashed up the piano, playing like Jerry Lee Lewis. If only he had set it on fire, his act would have been complete. Or if he had played on a little longer, the piano would have ignited by itself.

Tonight, as well, we might have a swinging little party, to celebrate 50 days of protest…

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