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EU executive says of Bulgaria protests: any use of force must be proportionate

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Any use of force by authorities against protesters must only be proportionate and democratic countries must ensure the right to peaceful demonstrations, the European Union's executive said on Thursday over recent protests in Bulgaria.

Thousands of Bulgarians rallied in front of the parliament in Sofia on Wednesday in one of the biggest protests so far in two months of demonstrations calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

A spokesman for the executive European Commission said the bloc was monitoring the situation closely. While he declined to specify if Sofia overstepped the line, or not, he said:

"Peaceful demonstrations are a fundamental right in every democratic country and we support the right to peaceful protest," he said. "Any use of force must always be exercised in a proportionate manner."

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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