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(en) Bulgaria, flagrant repression of a young anarchist

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 28 Jul 2004 07:06:02 +0200 (CEST)


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The neoliberal political class in Sofia is now engaged in new efforts
to criminalize and intimidate dissent, branding protestors and anarchists
as a threat to "national security". The most flagrant example of this new
clampdown on freedom is the arrest of a 20-year-old anarchist in mid-July.
The political elite in Bulgaria, under uncrowned King Simeon II
as Prime Minister, is closely allied to Washington and NATO.
Specially beholden to the Bush administration and engineering
its own new forms of Homeland Security, the political class in
Sofia is now engaged in new efforts to suppress and silence
dissent, painting anarchists as a threat to ?national security.?

The most flagrant example of this new wave of repression
against alternative expression in the country is the arrest of
Elitsa, a 20-year-old anarchist in mid-July, in the city of Dobrich
in far northeastern Bulgaria.

Elitsa has been charged with "crimes against the Republic of
Bulgaria". Her "offense": passing out and pasting up leaflets in
her hometown over the past two months, calling for more
freedom, equality and people's autonomy, and selling back
issues of the Bulgarian anarchist journal Svoboden Misl (Free
Thought).

This magazine, one of the few anti-authoritarian publications in
Bulgarian, is a legal periodical issued in Sofia by the Federation
of Anarchists in Bulgaria and distributed across the country.
Section 108 of the Bulgarian Criminal Code under which she has
been charged speaks of spreading "fascist ideology and
terrorism".

Elitsa's ordeal: One morning in July at 5 a.m., the local police
descended on her home, confiscating literature, the hard disk of
her computer and other "evidence", and dragging her in for six
hours of grilling and interrogation, with no lawyer present. Elitsa
can be sentenced to up to three years behind bars for her "crime"
of speaking out on behalf of freedom and an "alternative future"
for Bulgaria. Her email also appears to have under surveillance
by the State Security Agency, trying to track her "contacts" in
Bulgaria and abroad; her password was altered without her
knowledge. Eli's phone was apparently also tapped by State
Security, but she has been unable to determine the nature of
other "material" to be used against her in court in this patent bid
to intimidate and silence dissent.

She is apparently now "released" on her own recognizance, but
any "literature" she "dares" to distribute must first be approved
by a police inspector. The shop "Na Tumna" in Dobrich which
has had several copies of the journal Svoboden Misl for sale has
also reportedly been under daily police surveillance and
harassment.

Eli's arrest and harassment comes as numerous municipalities in
Bulgaria vie to attract at least three U.S. bases now held out as
carrots by the Pentagon - despite mounting outrage among
millions of Bulgarian citizens over the Bulgarian military
presence (470 troops) in Iraq, the recent killing of two hostages,
and the continuing NATOization of public discourse.
Meanwhile, popular discontent festers over the dire economic
situation in the country, where millions are living on $2 a day or
less. The large Roma minority, the second largest Rom
community in Eastern Europe, has been reduced to squalor,
turned into a vast discriminated underclass, with the highest
levels of unemployment anywhere in Europe. Over 13 percent of
the Bulgarian population has emigrated abroad in search of
economic survival since the advent of "freedom" in November
1989.

In early April of this year, another incident of police harassment
and surveillance of anarchists for expressing their views publicly
was reported from the village of Kochan in southwestern
Bulgaria. An arc of repression against young anarchists can be
traced from the country"s far northeast to the far southwest.

Bulgaria is a small cog in the machinery of Control being
fashioned by the War Party on the Potomac, what David Hodge
has called the planetary "Disequilibrium Machine". The
Bulgarian people deserves autonomy. Its economy need not be a
vassal of NATO, a colony of the EU, its narrow neoliberal elite
currying favor with Brussels, the White House and Pentagon.
Public opinion surveys show that a vast majority of Bulgarians
want Bulgarian troops out of Iraq. And wish to be free of
American military bases as outposts in Washington"s War on
Terror and against Humanity. The nation, under IMF and World
Bank dictates, has become a poorhouse spending millions on the
military.

Freedom of thought and expression must be protected,
repression publicized, condemned and defeated. Statements of
solidarity with Eli, her anti-authoritarian comrades and the
Bulgarian masses can be posted in English at:
http://bulgaria.indymedia.org , where these events are chronicled
and commented upon.

Sources:
http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/newswire/display/314/index.php
http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/newswire/display/375/index.php
http://bulgaria.indymedia.org/newswire/display/21/index.php

Vulcho Bulgaria.



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