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Bulgaria: Thousands protest corruption and poverty

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Several thousand people are protesting in Bulgaria's capital demanding better working conditions and higher salaries, with the more radical ones also calling on the Socialist-backed government to step down to make way for early elections.

Three different rallies were held Wednesday in front of the Parliament building, which was cordoned off by riot police. Protesters blocked major intersections in central Sofia, but no clashes or injuries were immediately reported.

Students staged their traditional protest urging the government to resign over alleged ties with shady businessmen. Meanwhile, several thousand labor union members marched through the city center to demand better pay, and hundreds of taxi drivers protested for better working conditions. Both groups of protesters, however, declared that their demands were economic and not aimed at bringing the government down.

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