Bulgaria's Rozovo Inhabitants 'Discriminate' Refugees - Ombudsman
Syrian refugees have been facing discrimination from the inhabitants of Rozovo, a Bulgarian village, according to the National Ombudsman.
Penchev's comments came after three Syrian families were forced to leave Rozovo, a village in Central Bulgaria, following calls by locals that they go away until Monday.
Residents who issued the ultimatum (and who claim to represent the village's population) said "more radical protests" and even "violence" could be triggered by their refusal to leave.
The 17 Syrians, six of whom were children, were thus forced away only a day after having moved in. They have been granted refugee status.
Konstantin Penchev said in an interview for the public broadcaster BNT that their actions were a demonstration of intolerance and could not be justified.
He stressed that the three Syrian families had paid for their stay and had not relied on charity to make a living.
Penchev was also clear they had done nothing wrong to Rozovo's inhabitants and had shown no disrespect for the laws during their single day in the village.
The National Ombudsman added that the Syrian families that were driven out, as well as other asylum seekers and refugees whose rights have been violated by citizens or institutions could turn to his office for help.
Also on Monday morning, some 150 people (out of a population exceeding 1000) staged a demonstration in front of the house where the refugees had spent a day, waving Bulgarian flags which they later placed at the building's door and on its fence.
They chanted, "Bulgaria for the Bulgarians!" and told journalists which covered their event they had been afraid that refugees could threaten their lives or rape some of the inhabitants.
It was pressure put by them on the house's owner earlier last week that forced him to ask the Syrians to leave.
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