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Protesting Nurses Barricade Themselves in Parliament's Building, Cause Conflicting Political Reactions

After five protesting nurses barricaded themselves in Parliament's building on Sofia's Independence Square late on Thursday, remaining inside to the present moment, political parties and professional organizations Friday reacted with conflicting positions on the nurses' civil disobedience.

These events come after on March 1 healthcare professionals said they are launching indefinite protests over inadequate working conditions, low pay and understaffing, the same reasons that drove them to protest repeatedly in 2019.

In a statement to the media, parliamentary Healthcare Committee Chair Daniela Daritkova of GERB described the protestors' actions as a provocation. She said that before they barricaded themselves in a room inside Parliament's building, the nurses barged in amid a sitting of the Healthcare Committee at 4 pm on Thursday. In her words, the nurses in no way tried to communicate with the Committee members, and spoke only with journalists. "I dare claim responsibly that, according to me, that was a purposeful, organized provocation," Daritkova said.

One of the nurses purposefully went to stand on the ledge of a window during all TV channels' prime time, Daritkova added. In her words, it was extremely risky to leave a woman in an unstable psychological state on a window ledge, and two notable representatives of the National Service for Protection (NSP) were unable to handle the situation. According to her, dialogue should be sought but in no case should unlawful actions be tolerated.

Approached for comment, President Rumen Radev said that the NSP should act in accordance with its instructions for protection of such sensitive sites like Parliament's building but, according to him, the current problem is not a security issue. This problem should be solved not by the NSP but by the Health Ministry and the parliamentary Healthcare Committee, he argued.

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