France Demands Apology from Bulgarian Ultranationalist Leader
France’s embassy in Bulgaria has published an official statement condemning the behavior of controversial Bulgarian ultranationalist leader Volen Siderov.
Siderov, an MP and leader of the extremist Ataka party, triggered a scandal late on Monday by verbally assaulting a French cultural attach? during a Sofia-Varna flight and later attacking a man in a Varna airport shuttle bus. The shuttle bus incident resulted in a scuffle in which two men, including a police officer, were allegedly injured by Siderov and his entourage.
The ultranationalist, who is now investigated for hooliganism and causing slight bodily harm, refused to give up his MP immunity on Tuesday.
“A French diplomatic employee has become the victim of insults and threats on behalf of a Bulgarian citizen, in an obviously intoxicated state, during a Bulgaria Air flight from Sofia to Varna on the evening of January 6,” the French embassy’s statement says.
“This Bulgarian citizen reprimanded [the diplomatic employee] because of the latter’s nationality and, citing his lawmaker rights, demanded the diplomatic employee’s documents for a check, obviously not distinguishing between legislative and executive functions,” the statement added.
The French embassy and the French Interior Ministry are now collecting information on the incident.
Siderov has been involved in a number of scandals over the last few years. In 2010, he was detained in Germany after he hurled racist insults at the attendants of a Lufthansa flight.
In September, he and a group of Ataka MPs stirred a row in a renowned Brussels restaurant.
Even though it is not officially in power, Siderov’s anti-Western party remains a key ally of the country’s fragile Socialist-led coalition government. -
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