Bulgarian Nationalist MPs Join Calls for Apology over Airport Row
Two MPs of Bulgarian nationalist party Ataka have insisted that a plot aimed at undermining the reputation of the formation is underway.
In a Monday interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Denitsa Gadzheva and Miglena Aleksandrova commented on the scandal involving Ataka leader Volen Siderov and the French cultural attaché.
The two insisted that the accusations against Siderov had been cooked up.
According to the official version of the events, on Monday evening, Siderov and 6 MPs from nationalist party Ataka, started a quarrel on a Sofia-Varna flight, abusing French Cultural Attaché Stephanie Dumortier, and after that engaged with a fist fight with a man and a police officer.
The accident caused Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov to demand that Siderov's MP immunity be lifted.
According to the official version of the events, on Monday evening, Siderov and 6 MPs from nationalist party Ataka, started a brawl on a Sofia-Varna flight, abusing French Cultural Attaché Stephanie Dumortier, and after that engaged with a fist fight with a man and a police officer.
On Sunday, Siderov presented a very different version of events, claiming that he had sought to defend the dignity of Bulgarians through his behavior.
The nationalist leader insisted that the French Cultural Attaché had made an abusive remark concerning the badge he had been wearing on his lapel, claiming that Bulgarians were simpletons who did not deserve to be EU citizens, and had even told him to "Fuck yourself".
Siderov also insisted that Dimitar Bahnev, a passenger on the flight, had given him the finger, while police officer Kostadin Kolev had committed perjury about the blow to his face.
In their Monday interview, the two Ataka representatives reiterated the stance that Siderov had acted in response to insulting behavior.
Gadzheva yet again claimed that the police officer was lying that he had been beaten by Ataka members.
She said that the medical certificate proving that he had been beaten had been issued by a hospital whose executive director, Krasimir Petrov, was former MP from center-right party GERB.
Reiterating the stance of Ataka's leader, Gadzheva insisted on an apology from the French Embassy in Sofia, stressing that a diplomat had gone as far as to abuse Bulgarian national symbols.
Both were evasive in their replies as to whether Siderov was going to give up his MP immunity, with Atanasova saying that Siderov had assured that he would not block the investigation.
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