The anatomy of a panic: why thousands of Bulgarian parents pulled their children out of school recently, and many more are marching to defend their families
Schools in Roma districts of Bulgaria emptied in minutes in a mass panic recently. Parents dragged their children out of class, fearing that if they stayed, they would be abducted by social workers, and possibly sent for adoption abroad. Meanwhile many other parents are protesting against a draft law they say puts 70% of children at similar risk. Are they right to be scared? Or have rumours and fake news spread hysteria about the power of the state? Suddenly, campaigns to defend the “traditional family” are gathering strength in Bulgaria – and across eastern Europe. What’s behind them? And why do they treat one Western country – Norway – as the ultimate source of evil? Tim Whewell investigates.
(Image: Protestors in Sofia, Bulgaria, demand the return of Katerina, a Bulgarian baby taken into care by social services in Germany. Credit: BBC/Tim Whewell)
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