Bulgaria's President Rumen Radev's office draw large protests
Heavily armed police raided the offices of Bulgarian President Rumen Radev Thursday, in a move that has exposed political rifts between the president and the country's parliament and oligarchy.
The raids targeted Radev's legal affairs and anti-corruption secretary, along with his security and defense minister. The officials were detained for questioning and their offices searched.
Prosecutors said the raids were part of two separate probes into influence-peddling and disclosure of state secrets.
However, Radev's supporters said the raids targeted the president in order to deliberately delay corruption investigations into Bulgaria's political elite and oligarch class.
Thursday's raids were followed by thousands of people taking to the streets of the capital, Sofia, to denounce the raids and chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev.
In a short speech in front of demonstrators, Radev called for a "purge" of the "mafia" within the government and the prosecutor's office.
Protesters responded with chants of "Geshev is a disgrace!" and "Out with the mafia!"
Geshev said ahead of the protests that the raids were not part of "political games."
"It does not matter if it is the president or the premier, the prosecution acts on the basis of evidence and does not care about political consequences," he said.