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Burning Men of Bulgaria

• Vice news
In the past six months, Bulgaria has experienced a wave of self-immolations. During one span in February and March alone, six Bulgarians killed themselves with fire, and at least ten people in total have done so in the past six months. (That’s more than in any other country except China, where suicidal Tibetan Buddhist monks use the tactic to protest religious persecution.)
Some say the inspiration for it all was a 36-year-old photographer named Plamen Goranov, who burned himself on February 20 in front of City Hall in Varna, a resort city on the country’s Black Sea coast. According to investigative journalists, Varna’s commerce is controlled by a business group called TIM, which the former US ambassador to Bulgaria, James Pardew, accused of racketeering, prostitution, and extortion in a 2005 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. TIM, he said, was the “up-and-coming star of Bulgaria’s organized crime.” Plamen set himself on fire to protest TIM’s alleged relationship with Varna’s mayor, Kiril “Kiro” Yordanov. Before he set his body aflame, he propped up a sign demanding the “resignation of Kiro and all the city council by 5 PM.” 
When Plamen died 11 days later, he got his wish: memorials and vigils in his honor were held in every major city, and under pressure from his own political party, Yordanov resigned. Buoyed by this success, protests against corruption had erupted throughout the country, and by the end of February they’d grown so large that they forced the prime minister, an alleged former amphetamine smuggler named Boiko Borisov, to also resign. When his replacement, a Socialist named Plamen Oresharski, nominated a widely hated and allegedly corrupt media magnate named Delyan Peevski to run Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security, protesters forced Peevski to step down too 

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