A likely Story

02/12/2008 by Christopher Buxton

Sofia Airport closed by anti government protestors
Middle Classes in People Power Revolt
President Purvanov’s flight re-routed to Dupnetsa

Dressed in blue pinstripe shirts and Manchester United scarves, the men turned us back from their makeshift Audi barricade at the entrance to Sofia Airport. Despite lines of waiting police, their confidence seemed high. News had reached them that middle ranking Army and Police Officers had sent their support.

Four days into the airport occupation and the signs are that the coalition populist government has been paralysed by this unexpected explosion of middle class wrath. The present location of Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev is uncertain, following the occupation of his residence. There are rumours that he is hiding out in the mountains close to the film set where Stefan Danailov is shooting the heavily subsidized Turkish Partizan.

Meanwhile leaders of CRAP (Civil Restoration Anti-Mafia Party) have demanded the instant resignation of the government and the dissolution of all existing political parties. The government, which draws its support from peasants and ethnic minorities, has been accused of buying votes with rakia. Politicians from all parties have been mired in corruption scandals.

Beneath portraits of Dimitur Berbatov, Bulgaria’s only living hero, CRAP leaders speak every day to cheering thousands of protestors occupying the Arrivals and Departures Hall. Leading light and frustrated golf entrepreneur MV pinpointed the reasons for middle class fury. “Corruption! Corruption! Corruption! We are the pariah of Europe – an execrable tribe! Our politicians buy votes so they can grab what’s best and give juicy contracts to their friends. Only Berbatov can save us!”

The emergence of the Manchester United striker as a possible saviour has surprised many opposition leaders who now find themselves rejected by CRAP. Even on the first day of the protests Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov turned up with a posse of Media reporters and a spade to help in the building of the first women’s barricade only to be told to fuck himself. For the Tom Jones of Bulgarian politics this was extremely hurtful.

Back in the airport a handful of Brits sit surrounded by their luggage. Nearby a hundred strong delegation of American evangelists read their bibles. Because of the non stop noise from CRAP protestors they have not managed a hymn in four days. On Stage ageless Lily Ivanova leads choruses of Yes We Can.

The Frustrated Brits’ counter-chorus of No we can’t seems churlish under the circumstances. They do admit that protestors have treated them well but complain that the promised cups of speciality Maika Tea never seem to arrive.

Meanwhile there are signs that the occupation is affecting important trade links. With frontier posts also occupied, vital elements of the Bulgarian economy are under threat. Customs officials are complaining of lost revenues and legitimate businesses in cigarette, narcotics and human resources are having to lay off their fat-neck workers. Unemployment has reached dizzying heights.

Yesterday government spokesmen were thin on the ground. In a campaign of voluntary self inflicted euthanasia, several ministers have managed to use their left feet to blow their brains out with multiple bullets. Attempts on the life of Ahmed Dogan are suspected.

Bulgaria watchers are unable to predict the outcome of this extraordinary upheaval. In the villages government supporters are promising resistance at every kilometre provided they can retrieve the metal road signs previously sold for scrap. Mr King – otherwise known as Saxewhatsisnamovski has donated one of his mountain tops to pro government radio stations.

Foreign Office advice to Brits planning to travel to Bulgaria is as always ambiguous. The only spokesman we could find was overcome with emotion following a briefing with Gordon Brown. We are monitoring the position closely. He said before staggering against the No 10 doorpost. Beer in Romania is not as good. I usually holiday with Spas Roussev in Montecarlo but we must not forget the needs of the poor – I mean disadvantaged – British holiday maker. The Home Office predicts an increase in alcohol fuelled crime this summer on Britain’s streets if Bulgaria continues to be closed.