Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bulgarian police intimidating a blogger, again

The title reminds my 2007 post Bulgarian police intimidating a blogger, and the two cases are distressingly similar. Now, however, we are not seeing the wide publicity and the blogger solidarity we saw in 2007. It seems that Bulgarians are in apathy after seeing in more and more detail the logical consequences of electing a cop to the position of Prime Minister, and after losing hope that EU would not tolerate a Third World situation in a member state. I learned about the present case from Svetla Encheva's blog.
The air of the Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora has been regularly polluted with high doses of sulphur dioxide for years. This pollution even has its own article in the Bulgarian Wikipedia. The presumed pollution sources are two large old-fashioned power stations located nearby. Some people, including blogger Genadi Mihaylov from Stara Zagora, also suspect a local military training square. Residents of the city have protested many times, to no avail.
Below, I am translating Genadi's Jan. 21 post Come to talk at the police station:

"'Hello, Mr. Mihaylov?'
'Yes, I am.'
'Good morning, I am calling you from the Stara Zagora Police Department.'
'I am calling you in relation to something that happened. Can you come to us to talk today?'
'Has something serious happened?'
'No, nothing, I just want to talk with you. When can you come here?
'In an hour or two, I suppose.'
When such a gentleman with extremely polite voice wakes you up, the wake-up is truly effective - like a laxative.
'Have you used Internet to announce the date of the protest?'
'Yes, in several Web forums.'
'And you have mentioned the word 'eggs'?'
'Yes, but I meant something entirely different. I have not appealed to anybody to spit on the minister...'
'This turned out to be a media speculation... You have attended the (Jan.) 18 protest (for clean air), haven't you?'
'Yes, I have.'
'And you haven't thrown eggs, have you?'
'No, I haven't.'
'And you do not know who has?'
'I only heard about it later from the news. I have no idea.'
'Have you seen any masked boys?'
'Yes, there were some.'
'Do you know who they were?'
'No, I don't. They were masked, how could I recognize them, even if I knew them?'
'Oh... One egg was thrown and the media reported it was raining eggs... so (superiors) called from (the capital) Sofia (emphasis by Genadi - M.M.)... anyway. Write down your full name and what we talked here...'
At that point, that uncle policeman (who was quite heavily built) opened at his computer a folder named 'eggs'. There were two my photos, this and this one. The next file was a text downloaded from the Web. Everything was of course absolutely serious.
I guarantee with my honour that everything I have written above is true.
Gas pollution poisoning hundreds of thousands of human beings vs. a bird embryo thrown at the local authorities by a gang of teenagers - nice, really nice.
Welcome to Absurdistan.
Of course that was not the entire conversation. In reality, it lasted half an hour, possibly an hour. The reason they called me to the police station was that I had posted the subject (on the forum) by copying the announcement for the protest which was already distributed all around the Web. Apart from the announcement, I really mentioned taking eggs (to the protest), but how could I know that someone would really take (and use) them? The basic idea was whether I could name the culprits. The policeman told me that at least several more people from the same forum had been called for questioning the previous day..."

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