Protesters in Bulgaria demand early elections

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — About 1,000 people are protesting in Bulgaria's capital to demand that the government step down to make way for a special election.

Many of Friday's demonstrators were students who held hands and made a ring around Parliament. Others, including some of the students' teachers, blocked major intersections in central Sofia. Riot police struggled to keep traffic moving, but no injuries were immediately reported.

For a week, students have been occupying universities, energizing a 4-month-old anti-government movement that is criticizing the government over allegations that its leaders have ties with shady businessmen.

Friday's protesters read out a declaration saying, "There is only the appearance of democracy in Bulgaria, and the legislative and executive branches of government are controlled by cynics."

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