Bulgaria’s “tomato revolution” is gaining steam after hundreds of citizens protested in front of parliament on Saturday, with some of them even throwing tomatoes at the building.
The Bulgarians were inspired by a shaggy-haired poet, Nikolay Kolev, who was imprisoned several times during the communist regime, reports Reuters.
Kolev, who is also known as “Bosiya” (The Barefooted), was already detained for a short period of time after he threw tomatoes at the parliament building in the country’s capital of Sofia.
The protesters waved banners that said, “Stop political hypocrisy,” while they threw tomatoes at the building. They vowed that the tomato revolution will only get bigger ahead of parliamentary elections, which will take place next June.
Kolev stated of the protest:
“This is only the beginning of the protests … I wanted to give an example of how to protest.”
Corruption has remained a problem in Bulgaria, even 23 years after the fall of communism in the country. Corruption and organized crime are keeping the country from growing and delaying its ability to enter the European Union’s Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free travel between countries.
Yahoo! News notes that Kolev sent a letter to parliament, leading political figures, the Supreme Judicial Council, state TV, and radio, threatening to throw tomatoes at their buildings as a response to the outgoing corruption.
He also complained of the rampant organized crime and lack of media freedom in the Eastern European country. At the end of his letter, Kolev stated, “I can no longer remain a hostage to hope and good manners. Go to h***!”
The corruption and crime in Bulgaria have kept living standards in Bulgaria to among the EU’s lowest. Before this weekend’s tomato revolution, thousands protested last Saturday against how the government has handled the weak economy, calling on the ruling GERB party to resign.