Bulgarian MPs Scrap Hearing on Extremist's 'Flip Off'
The parliamentary ethics and religion committee has rejected a hearing on Bulgarian ultranationalist MP Desislav Chukolov allegedly flipping off anti-government protesters last Friday.
Six antigovernment protesters were invited by the Member of the Parliament from the opposition Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria Party, GERB, Irena Uzunova, to attend the sitting of the committee after they submitted a hearing request.
They waited patiently standing up for the MPs to finish the other items on the sitting's agenda only to be told at the end by its chairman, MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Plamen Slavov that the parliamentary code did not allow for a request to be examined on the day it has been filed.
After that, Slavov proceeded to quickly close the sitting, prompting outrage among the protesters, who said they took off from work to attend.
The Socialist lawmaker promised such hearing will be held, but declined giving an exact date.
The true scandal erupted in the parliamentary hallway, when MPs from Chukolv's extremist nationalist Ataka party and a crew from Ataka's TV channel Alfa barged at the protesters, saying they were liars and provocateurs.
After a brief altercation, both sides decided to leave because they deemed they did not have anything further to say to each other and dialogue among them was impossible.
"We witnessed an unacceptable behavior of MP from Ataka, Desislav Chukolov, tarnishing the image of the Bulgarian Parliament. When entering and exiting the building, he made a series of obscene gestures with body and hands (including flipping a finger while his limousine passed near the public)," explained the request, signed by 11 citizens.
Immediately after the Friday incident, a picture with a middle finger, shown from an MP automobile, was shared many times in social networks last Friday. Chukolov firmly denied and denies, before a number of media, making obscene gestures.
The lawmaker's face cannot be seen in the photo. However, protesters have told Dnevnik.bg that he flipped them off two times – upon arriving to Parliament and upon leaving it.
Friday marked the 113th consecutive day of relentless anti-government rallies in Bulgaria. The protests were triggered by a number of controversial appointments and by wider concerns about corruption.
Chukolov's extremist Ataka party is a key parliamentary ally of the fragile Socialist-led coalition government.
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