28 detained in 10th day of Bulgarian protests

Twenty-eight people were detained in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Sunday during a 10th consecutive evening of anti-government protests, in order to prevent a potential escalation, police said Monday.

Another 200 people identified as potential troublemakers were also stopped from joining the main demonstration in downtown Sofia of several thousand people, police added.

This latest wave of rallies has been largely peaceful and without arrests, although several people were injured last Monday when two groups of nationalists threw stones at each other, prompting a heavy police deployment.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 people have joined the rallies in Sofia every evening since June 14 -- just four months after demonstrations prompted the resignation of the last government in the European Union's poorest country.

The latest protests began in reaction to the appointment of a media mogul as security chief -- since withdrawn -- but have turned into demonstrations against the Socialist-backed government and politicians in general.

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has refused to step down, saying that this would create instability. Last week he pushed through a package of reforms aimed at alleviating poverty and restarting the faltering economy.

Under pressure from protestors, parliament has also launched discussions of changes to the electoral code to open the way for new, smaller parties to enter the legislature and improve people's representation.

A group of some 60 intellectuals issued on Sunday a special charter to end the rule by the wealthy and restore democracy and the rule of law in former communist Bulgaria, long dogged by corruption. Several hundred people have since signed the charter.