The Three Holdouts Against Change

Three Holdouts Against Change

It seemed a small thing, hardly ground for arrest. For two weeks a tiny group of Bulgarian environmentalists called Ecoglasnost manned a table in a Sofia park to gather signatures on a petition calling for public debate on two controversial river-diversion schemes. They had collected nearly 7,000 names, when police and militia units suddenly swooped down, scattered bystanders and arrested seven of the organizers.

The members of Ecoglasnost were later released, but the crackdown was a crude warning to Bulgarian political activists to watch their step. It was one more indication of just how nervous Eastern Europe's remaining hard-line regimes have...

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