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Bulgarian lawmakers freed after protesters besiege parliament (VIDEO)

Police escorted 109 Bulgarian lawmakers, ministers and journalists out of the parliament building in Sofia, after an eight-hour-long siege by protesters.

Bulgaria protester womanEnlarge
A woman blows a whistle in front of a police line during an anti-government protest in Sofia on July 23, 2013. At least seven protesters and two policemen were injured as Bulgarian protesters clashed with police for the first time on the 40th evening of massive anti-government rallies in the EU's poorest country late Tuesday. Several thousand protesters have cordoned off the building of parliament since early evening, preventing 109 ministers, lawmakers and other officials from leaving it for more than five hours after budget revision discussions. (DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Over a hundred Bulgarian lawmakers, ministers and journalists have been escorted out of the parliament building in the capital, Sofia, after an eight-hour-long siege by protesters trapped them inside. 

The protesters, entering the 40th day of anti-government rallies focused on corruption, blockaded the building on Tuesday, the BBC reported.

Those stuck inside were freed early on Wednesday, said Reuters, as riot police managed to force their way through the crowd and escort the 109 people trapped out of the area.

The effort took approximately two hours, according to Deutsche Welle, which said that the protesters had intended to maintain the blockade until their demands were met. 

More from GlobalPost: What we're protesting today 

"Police reacted very adequately, policemen did their job perfectly although protesters behaved extremely aggressively," Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev told reporters, according to Reuters. "We will try to find those who threw stones at police and deputies."

Bulgaria's socialist-led government, only in power since early elections in May, has been the focus of increasingly angry protests for the past 40 days, in the poorest nation in the European Union. 

Protests were sparked on June 14 by the controversial appointment of media mogul Delyan Peevski as the head of the national security agency, Al Jazeera said. The appointment was swiftly rescinded and Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski apologized, but these efforts did not stop the upswelling of popular anger. 

"I appeal to the protesters to keep the protest the way it was and the way it impressed all of Europe — peaceful, civilised and aimed at achieving the values of a democratic society," said Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, according to Al Jazeera. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/130724/bulgarian-lawmakers-freed-after-parliament-siege-protesters