Interior Ministry Will Not Tolerate Racist Acts, Says Chief Secretary

Politics » DOMESTIC | February 17, 2014, Monday // 10:12
Bulgaria: Interior Ministry Will Not Tolerate Racist Acts, Says Chief Secretary Svetlozar Lazarov, Chief Secretary of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry. Photo by BGNES

No manifestations of xenophobia or racist agitation will be tolerated by the Interior Ministry, claims its chief secretary Svetlozar Lazarov.

This declaration refers to the escalation of violence during Friday's attempt of football hooligans to assault a mosque in the city of Plovdiv, which resulted in 120 people being detained.

According to Lazarov, attempts aimed at disrupting the balance of the Bulgarian ethnic model are being made and this constitutes a "threat to the national security". In the morning program of TV7, Lazarov expressed his belief that someone is to take responsibility for these processes, which he likened to "tides under the surface" of the society.

The chief secretary announced that preliminary proceedings have already been filed on the grounds of disseminating hate speech on an ethnic basis.

On Friday, some 2000 people gathered in Plovdiv to protest against the controversial return of the old Kurshum mosque in the town of Karlovo to the Chief Mufti's office, a move that would turn the mosque into an active religious place.

At the time of the hearings on the ownership of the mosque that took place at Plovdiv's Judicial Palace, football hooligans started throwing stones at Djumaya mosque, another religious building in the city. Four people were injured during the riots that followed. Police officers were also pelted with stones and this led to one individual being detained, according to local reports.

Lazarov ascribed part of the blame for Friday's incident on Plovdiv Municipality, which, as he reminded, had been warned on the forthcoming protest by the Interior Ministry as early as February 10. Despite the Ministry's advice, the protest was allowed by the Municipality.

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Tags: Plovdiv, Karlovo, mosque, hooligans, Svetlozar Lazarov, municipality, Chief Mufti's Office
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