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‘We have been deceived’ – Miners block Bulgaria’s major roads in protest against possible closure of coal-fired plants

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« Dozens of miners have taken to the streets, blocking major roads in Bulgaria’s Stara Zagora and Gurkovo on Friday, to protest against the government’s intentions to submit territorial development plans to the European Union, which include shutting down the country’s largest coal-fired plants.
These plants currently generate a significant portion of Bulgaria’s electricity, accounting for about 40 per cent.
Several vital road arteries, including the Traki Highway, the Struma Highway, and the Republic Pass, have been obstructed by the miners. The Republic Pass, in particular, serves as a crucial link between the southern and northern regions of Bulgaria.
The closure of coal-fired plants aligns with European plans to combat environmental pollution. Despite the protests, Prime Minister Denkov has affirmed that the territorial development plans will proceed as intended.
« Today several parties came together and proposed this option, but the parliament took the opposite decision and we feel that we have been deceived again – this is the reality! » a protester said.
Local residents are anxiously concerned about potential unemployment in their regions. Although politicians have promised the implementation of retraining programs and the creation of new job opportunities in various industries, doubts and worries persist.
« We will protest until our demand is fulfilled – that this plan in this form does not go to Brussels, » another protester commented.
Spatial development plans are a requirement of Brussels in order for Bulgaria to receive hundreds of millions of euros under the EU’s Recovery and Development Plan. »

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