Several thousand Bulgarians rallied against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) over the weekend in Sofia and big cities, joining protests across Europe.
The protesters demand that Bulgaria withdraw its signature from the agreement, claiming that it does not draw a clear line between copyright violations and legal data sharing in Internet, and allows for surveillance of all online content. ACTA, which aims to establish international standards for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, was signed in Tokyo last month by 22 European Union member states, including Bulgaria. However, several other EU member states, Cyprus among them, opted not to join in.
Over 4,000 marched in downtown Sofia, private station bTV reported, adding that some 500 gathered in Varna. Other media reported that the protest in the capital had drawn some 6,000 and 7,000.
"When you try to impose the viewpoint and wishes of certain corporations upon whole countries it is only natural to expect a backlash from the common people who make up these countries, this is why we are here," said a protester interviewed by the state-run Bulgarian National Television (BNT).
ACTA is pending ratification by Bulgaria's Parliament.