2020 was and still is an eventful year - pandemic, protests, orange men, you name it. This talk is a comprehensive overview about yet another tumult: the protests that occured in Bulgaria in 2020, months of demonstrations against an European Union member state government that were largely unacknowledged in the rest of the EU - from the perspective of an expat and an involved small scale activist on the fringe.
The goal is to convey to some extent my experience and acquired updated knowledge I made while trying to figure out what exactly was going on as the protests erupted in my home country, who were the actors, what do they want, what interests do they represent and what is the current state. This will include a brief historical background, introduction to the main political and criminal actors, societal factors, the story of how a national flag on a beach in Rossenez started it all, how the protests developed, how the national & international press reacted and finally the EU's position or the lack of such. To top it off we will see/hear some first hand impressions of a protester on the ground.
In slightly more detail, the talk will consist of:
1. A brief introduction:
- a brief historical perspective and context up to 2020,
- the ups & downs that formed the poorest country in the EU,
- its evergoing struggle with corruption and crime deeply interwined in the state itself.
2. An outline of the current landscape as shown with
- some statistics backed up by official data,
- current state of education, health, economics sectors
- the current ruling party GERB and Bulgarian sun king Boyko Borrissov
- other present and past key political players.
3. A summary and a timeline of the protests,
- why and how they began
- an overview of the highlights, such as police brutality, press (non)freedom, state suppression etc.,
- why are the people protesting,
- what protesting fractions were there, (by no means the full picture) and what they seek
4. Appearances of and reactions to the protests,
- digital means of these protests (Facebook, Twitter)
- some problems with the protests (racism, sexism),
- a brief live impression from an on-the-ground protester.
5. Role of the EU, its institutions and MEPs, its silence/involvement,
- EPP, its chairman & MEPs shielding the corruption
- EU politicians showing solidarity and drawing attention to the problem,
- the current outcome.