Hundreds protest COVID-19 mandates in Bulgaria’s capital

February 23, 2022 GMT

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Several hundred people opposing COVID-19 mandates staged a protest rally on Wednesday in Bulgaria’s capital.

The demonstrators waved national flags and banners of the nationalist Revival party, which organized the protest. They also chanted “Resignation” and ”Freedom,” calling on the government to step down over its “failure to handle the health crisis.”

A heavy police presence was in place and the protest in downtown Sofia remained peaceful.

The protesters rejected a government-sponsored plan for a gradual removal of COVID-19 related restrictions, demanding instead that the mandatory wearing of face masks and the use of health passes be abolished immediately.

The health pass certifies a vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the virus, and it’s obligatory for indoor venues.

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The ease of the restrictions will take place in three steps and will start this week, said Angel Kunchev. the country’s chief health inspector. The plan aims to lift all restrictions by March 20.

The Balkan country of 6.5 million people has witnessed a decrease in coronavirus cases over the course of this month. On Wednesday, it reported 4,667 new daily infections, while at the peak of the current wave, at the end of January, more than 12,000 new daily cases were reported.

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